The ebooks@cambridge team is pleased to announce the addition of a new ebook aggregator platform to our suite: VLeBooks. VLeBooks complements our existing offering of ebook aggregators in a couple of key ways:
Opening up access to trade publishers
VLeBooks is provided by Askews & Holts Library Services, a library supplier with a history of servicing the public library sector which has more recently branched out into academic library supply. It sells ebooks from a wide range of publishers, including – thanks to its public library origins – trade publishers such as Penguin and Harper Collins. Titles from trade publishers crop up fairly frequently on reading lists, particularly in the Humanities, and until now we have been unable to provide users with ebook versions of these titles through our existing vendors. Here is a sample of Penguin titles we have purchased recently and which are available now on VLeBooks (click the covers for access – Raven required on and off-campus):
More accessibility options
Another area where VLeBooks seeks to differentiate itself from other aggregator platforms is by offering users a number of ways in which they can change the platform itself or the online reading experience to adapt to their individual needs. Options include different coloured text overlays, easy zooming and switching on or off platform accessibility options such as large or dyslexic fonts, link highlighting and high contrast.
Platform accessibility settings:
Platform with high contrast and dyslexia font option switched on:
Example of overlay colours (more available):
We would be interested in hearing how our print-disabled users get on with these features, so please contact email@example.com if you have any feedback.
More things to note
VLeBooks offers the usual features common to other aggregators such as Ebook Central and Dawsonera, such as the option to add notes and bookmarks, export citations and search the text. Additionally, an in-built dictionary allows you to look up the meaning of words and phrases. Downloading for offline reading is available for up to ten days depending on title/publisher; an Adobe ID is required plus Adobe Digital Editions for PC/Mac or the free VLeBooks Reader App (available for IoS and Android) for use on mobile devices.
For the librarians amongst you, VLeBooks sells a new kind of access model for some of its titles, based on the concept of replacement of a worn-out print copy. A limited number of electronic ‘issues’ is purchased, beyond which we will need to buy a new ‘copy’ for continued access. This contrasts with the idea of ownership in perpetuity which characterises most of the ebooks we have bought in the past. On the face of it this looks like an unattractive idea (with some management implications to grapple with – thank goodness for expiry notifications), but it does allow us to offer ebook access to those Penguin ‘paperbacks’ which would otherwise only be available to students in print, and the price of individual copies we have bought so far is low. If you have any trade titles on your lists, do get in touch so that we can check availability.
How to access VLeBooks
As usual, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance with this or any other ebook platform.