A majority of these institutions now have a variety of digital content and most have allocated more funds to e-books than hard copies this year.
Publishers of textbooks, too, have seen a more than 100% rise in e-book sales, further pushing the state’s academic institutions to digitize their existing content. Some college libraries are also warming up to the idea of audio-books.
“E-books and virtual libraries hold immense flexibility beyond the limitations of time and distance. The requirements of distance-learning have enhanced their significance. Most college and university libraries across the country are crammed with books and have run out of storage space. E -books allow them to enhance their collections digitally. Moreover, it allows a single book to be accessed by many at the same time,” said Ajay Pratap Singh, director-general of the National Library and an expert on digital library and digital preservation.
Atashi Kharpa, principal of Gokhale Memorial Girls’ College, said the institution purchased e-books worth Rs 13 lakh last year besides taking membership of the Information and Library Network (INFLIBNET) for accessing e-resources. “This was an unthinkable move even a few years ago,” she said.
‘E-books give greater access to resources’
Kolkata: A majority of colleges and universities in the state have switched to procuring e-books instead of physical ones after the pandemic, primarily to meet the demands of distance learning.
JD Birla Institute, for example, has given added impetus to e-resources apart from procuring e-books. “Since we run various UG courses on unconventional subjects, the accessibility to such content is always a problem. We digitized all our available resources during the peak of pandemic. Thanks to this, our students now have greater access to such resources,” said principal Deepali Singhee.
IIT-Kharagpur official and principal project officer of the National Digital Library of India Shibobrata Banerjee said between 2015 and 2022, they digitized the contents of over seven crore books, journals, question papers and research papers, which were now freely available.
Govind Singh Yadav, an e-book specialist for Orient Blackswan, a leading textbook publisher, said their e-book sale has risen “by over 100%” in a year. “It’s a win-win situation for us as printing cost of books have risen manifold,” said Samrat Chatterjee of publishers Springer Nature India.