William Playfair sets the scene for October E-Books Conference.

Last week the SLIC Conference Planning Team headed for Edinburgh to get a look around the Playfair Library, the impressive setting for this year’s 10th anniversary ebook conference. It’s amazing to realise that from the 1820’s until the 1960’s this magnificent room was used as the Edinburgh University Library until the move to George Square.  William Playfair’s Library runs to more than 190 feet and features busts lining the shelves on each side as well as his signature neoclassical barrel-vaulted (and breathtaking) ceiling.

 © Copyright ronnie leask and licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Licence

SLIC, SCURL, MMITS and SALCTG are working really hard to get the programme out as soon as possible but that hasn’t stopped the bookings from rolling in. It seems that many colleagues appreciate the early bird offer and want to take advantage of it to secure a delegate place.

Catherine Nicholson,Head of Learning Resources at Glasgow School of Art and former SCURL Director recently accepted an invitation from us to reflect on ten years of e-books conferences.  Glancing through previous programmes it’s clear that the strategic landscape for e-books is has changed enormously.  No longer are e-books the domain of higher and further education although sound examples of good practice and projects such as SHEDL and the JISC e-books for FE projects have featured previously.

As mentioned in a previous posting,  South Ayrshire became the first local authority in Scotland to launch a free downloadable library e-books service and others such as Dundee City and Edinburgh City have followed, confirming the wisdom of working with all sectors to plan the conference programme.

In the year which has passed since our event featured Canongate Books discussing digital reading in the age of the ipod, Amazon have predicted that e-book sales will overtake paperbacks within two years (the bookseller already shifts more e-books than hardbacks); a change they have attributed in part to the increased convenience and accessibility of e-books in a range of mobile and desktop applications.

Our programme for ‘Working in a digital age’ will reflect all this and more.  You can book a place online and follow progress on Twitter (#ebooks10).

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