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SA schools still slow to catch on with ebooks

South African Educational publisher MacMillan has noted an increase in ebook requests during the latest school rush for textbook orders, though it remains a minor percentage of general sales.

“I do see a dramatic change happening in the next decade in South Africa. Schools are starting to see the benefits of using tablet devices for learning such as lighter backpacks, interactive material and potential cost saving. We may see a number of schools purchasing ebooks instead of printed books at the end of this year for 2014,” Malcolm Seegers, Digital Publisher at MacMillan, told HumanIPO.

MacMillan, which recently started to convert books to digital format, admits that the sales comparison does not even amount to one percent digital publications of the printed texts.

Seegers reasons that the company has not started marketing digital publications as yet.
According to Seegers, “printed books will probably still have a long future in South Africa”.

The demand for ebooks is believed to spring from schools fortunate to have sponsorship from IT companies who provided institutions with electronic reading devices without content.

However, most schools are still dependent on educational material from the Department of Education.

“It would be a mammoth task for the Department to start making ebooks available to schools in place of printed books so if this were ever to happen, it would take a number of years to implement,” Seegers added.

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