ITGS Paper 3 Case Study 2014 - Cobb Publishing

In 2014 the paper 3 case study for ITGS Higher Level (HL) students is titled 'Cobb Publishing and E-Books', and relates to a small publishing company that wants to venture into the world of digital publishing. The case study was released at the beginning of June 2013. This web page will be built up with a variety of articles and other primary and secondary resources to help ITGS teachers teach this case study.

This case study was for May and November 2014 only. These materials remain here for reference only. The case study for May and November 2015 is An Investigation into Big Data.

Introduction lesson

These questions are designed to familiarise students with the Cobb Publishing 2014 case study, to ensure they fully understand the key parts and vocabulary, and to link it to their prior learning. Students will  need to re-read key parts of the case study booklet in order to answer a series of questions.

Download the lesson here: Cobb Publishing introduction questions
Updated: 2014-11-07
E-book hardware

E-Books Hardware

Manufacturers' hardware pages and other e-book reader comparison charts help students understand the wide range of e-book hardware that is available. They also provide an insight into some of the problems mentioned in the case study booklet, such as the wide variety of file formats that are available, the specification differences between devices, and the vastly different capabilities of each. The e-book buyers guides and comparisons below may also be useful:
Updated: 2014-11-07
Digital Rights Management (DRM)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) Technology and E-Books

HowStuffWorks has a good overall of Digital Rights Management technology. Although it covers many different types of media (e.g. music), many of the points are still relevant to e-book publishing.

Several Internet groups campaign against DRM technology, believing it hinders usability and freedom, and removes fundamental rights such as the ability to create backup copies. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) lists a number of problems with DRM as do Defective by Design, another prominent anti-DRM group, and
Updated: 2014-11-07
E-books social and ethical issues

E-Books and E-Book Readers: Social and Ethical Concerns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a huge list of potential concerns relating to e-books and reader hardware, along with clear explanations of how these impacts the various stakeholders. Many of these concerns are directly listed in the Cobb Publishing case study booklet, including issues such as:
  • Privacy and user tracking
  • Ability to make annotations and additions
  • Ownership rights
  • Ability to lend e-books
  • Potential for censorship
  • The use of DRM
Few of these issues are covered in much detail in other media, so this page really is essential reading.
Updated: 2014-11-07

E-Book Creation and Self Publishing

eBook Architects is an e-book creation and publication site designed to help self-publishers. Their site has a wide range of material explaining the e-book creation process as well as related issues such as DRM technology. They also publish Enhanced e-books and Children's eBooks with additional animation and interactive features - something Cobb Publishing is considering in the future.

CreateSpace offers users the ability to self publish books in both paper and electronic forms. Being Amazon-owned, e-books are targetted at the Kindle range of readers. Kindle Direct Pubishing from Amazon offers a similar service. Both sites have a wide range of material, including FAQs, to help students understand the benefits and challenges of creating electronic books.

Lulu is another well regarded company for self-publishers.

Who Wants To Be A (Kindle) Millionaire? tells the story of Amanda Hocking, a (very) successful self-publisher.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Google eBooks

Example: Google eBooks

Lines 18-22 of the case study booklet describe the need to view e-books in a variety of file formats, and across a variety of hardware platforms, while maintaining synchronization between devices. Google eBooks is a similar service to Kindle Cloud Reader (below). The video Introducing Google eBooks explains how the service works and the features the cloud offers, while you can visit the Google eBooks front page to see for yourself how it works.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Kindle Cloud Reader

Example: Kindle Cloud Reader

The Kindle Cloud Reader is an eBook reader that works is most web browsers. It allows users to store and manage their eBook purcahses in the cloud and synchronise between devices. There are also functions for searching and annotating eBooks. Amazon has a huge range of free popular classics available on their e-book store, meaning ITGS students can investigate the kindle cloud reader for the case study without spending anything.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Interactive e-books

Future Developments: Interactive E-Books

The 2014 Case Study booklet explains how Cobb Publishing may want to develop e-books with interactive features in the future.

Blowing Up the Book is a wall street journal article that discusses the future of e-books and the possible enhancements publishers may start to include. Why it's Too Early for Publishers to Give up on Media-Rich Ebooks is another article that discusses some of the difficulties relating to these e-books, including file format and compatibility problems and a lack of desire from e-book customers.

Teacher Knows if You've Done the E-Reading highlights one possible enhanced e-book 'feature' - e-books that can gather statistics about how (or if) they are being read. Clearly this may raise privacy concerns.

Enhanced eBooks from eBook Architects has a great page relating to enhanced e-books, covering a wide range of material that can be included (such as video, audio, and animation) and a wide range of examples to highlight how this technology can be implemented. It also features a nice table that shows which enhanced features are supported in each e-book file format - this itself could lead to a useful discussion about file formats and compatability.

A few e-book publishers already produce enhanced e-books and it is very productive to browse through their sites and check out the functionality their products offer:
  • Amazon have a number of free enhanced e-books which you can download for the Kindle or the Kindle Reader software.
  • Blurb have a very clear, well laid out gallery of enhanced e-books with full interactive previews
  • SourceBooks produce a range of enhanced e-books.

Updated: 2014-11-07
Problems with e-books
Source: Flickr

Problems with E-Books

Why Book Publishers Are Still Dragging Their Heels on Selling You E-Books gives some general background on e-books and the reluctance some publishers have to produce them. Issues covered include piracy and file format problems - both of which are identified as issues in the case study booklet.

The rights and wrongs of digital books discusses other difficulties relating to e-books, including the difficulty of "lending" books and the problems this causes for users and libraries. Libraries struggle to stock their virtual shelves delves deeper into the library e-book lending issue, explaining how popular e-books are with library customers and how wary publishers are of e-book piracy.
Updated: 2014-11-07