In an innovative development for South African education, Van Schaik Bookstore has launched a unique new e-textbook offering that provides an interactive educational tool for students, lecturers and other professionals, and makes many of the locally prescribed textbooks available as e-textbooks.
“Until now, very few locally prescribed textbooks were made available as e-textbooks in South Africa. And those that were made available were simple PDF’s or exact page-by-page copies of the physical book,” explains Melvin Kaabwe, Digital Manager of Van Schaik Bookstores.
Using Ingram's feature-rich, Vitalsource Bookshelf® platform, the Van Schaik Bookstore e-textbook goes beyond being a mere copy of the physical book. It becomes a tool for educational engagement using embedded media such as audio and video, 3D diagrams, scalable charts and graphs as well as virtual experimentation pages. VitalSource Bookshelf, with 2.7 million registered users on 6,000 campuses worldwide, is the preferred and most used e-textbook delivery platform in higher education today. “E-textbook use in higher education continues its dramatic growth worldwide as more students, educators and institutions adopt digital course materials for study. Coupled with this, the rise of the tablet for reading books has had a profound effect on how people interact with written material. In the digital age, there are many options for Publishers to present their content in ways that provide a richer experience than on paper,” says Kaabwe.
Where plain black-and-white e-readers are fine for general reading, an academic textbook for study purposes requires a more comprehensive use of digital technology. The ability of tablets, cell-phones, laptops and PC’s to render beautiful images and run "apps" that allow for a reader to engage with the material in new ways, definitely brings a more complete learning tool in the form of e-textbooks.
“There is tremendous educational value of being able to conduct experiments in virtual laboratories within the science e-textbooks, or for entrepreneurs to evaluate business profitability using cost-volume-production graphing techniques or even for medical students to see the inside of a human heart in 3D. ”
Using the VitalSource platform, best-selling titles from local and international publishers, are now available for students in South Africa as e-textbooks through Van Schaik Bookstores. In the launch phase, popular books from publishers such as LexisNexis, Juta, Wiley, and Elsevier are available to buy and keep. Books from other publishers like Van Schaik publishers and Oxford University Press will be added in the near future. The books can be read on-line, on a cell-phone or off-line via the Vitalsource Bookshelf app, which is available at no cost for the latest Windows, iOS and Android devices. The VitalSource platform is a true online/offline e-book solution, with robust iOS and Android apps complementing Mac, Windows, and browser-based access. The multiplicity of access options is crucial in an emerging environment like South African higher education.
“E-textbooks are a growing and important part of the future of education, and working with an international market leader like Ingram's Vital Source, we have the resources to enhance learning throughout Africa and meet the digital needs of the academic community today and into the future,” says Stephan Erasmus, Managing Director, Van Schaik Bookstores. “We look forward to adding more and more book publishers that are relevant to the South African student, academic or professional reader as part of our continuing commitment to providing bona-fide Academic materials.”
With an online store, a library division and 56 stores located on or near academic institutions, Van Schaik is a leading provider of academic resources in South Africa and Namibia. Students and educators who purchase e-textbooks from Van Schaik enjoy all the benefits of the VitalSource platform including integrated download, online and mobile content options, advanced searching, and annotation, note-sharing, and accessibility features. Van Schaik is pleased to bring a real “Africa-ready” solution to assist students in their academic endeavors.