Irwin Law’s New E-Book Platform

Irwin Law’s new e-book platform is now available.

[Note of disclosure: Irwin Law is a publisher for me and also for Simon Fodden but I regularly post on e-books (see here and here, for example) and will continue to do so regardless of publisher].

It appears that Irwin Law has made huge improvements over earlier efforts of making their books available online. I think their new online platform will come closer to addressing some of the concerns that Angela Swan (see here) and others have expressed over how e-books in law may change or affect legal research and scholarship.

There are several things I like about their new service (and I really, truly do not mean this to sound like an advertisement):

- there is a faithful reproduction of the printed page

– there is fairly easy “browsability”

– keywords, when searched, get highlighted

– there is an ability to add notes or annotate or bookmark pages

– page number references in the index are clickable and take you to the relevant page

– URLs are also clickable

– there is an option using something called “InfoTools” to highlight, for example, a case citation from the Table of Cases and choose to search for the case on CanLII or one of the proprietarty databases (I found this didn’t work all of the time but that they are looking into making this work better).

Here is a screenshot showing a general welcome page for a particular book:

Here is a screenshot of an index page showing that the page numbers are clickable:

I assume a challenge for Irwin Law (as it will be for all legal publishers looking at e-books) will be determining the correct price for the online product and to balance print and online revenue streams and costs.

Other publishers of law-related e-books in Canada:

– Thomson Reuters (Carswell) – selected titles on Westlaw Canada and on their carswell ereference library.

– LexisNexis Quicklaw – selected titles (including, for example, Angela Swan’s contract treatise)

– Canada Law Book – selected titles (e.g., Brown & Beatty’s Canadian Labour Arbitration)

– CCH Online: one might consider the online versions of CCH’s various “black binders” as e-books

– others? (I feel like I am missing something . . . .)

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