Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Digital textbooks: when? and what?

with one comment

Very interesting page on the desiderata for digital textbook. A snippet:

Textbooks are an essential but increasingly expensive part of obtaining a college degree. With students spending between $700 and $1,000 per year and prices rising faster than inflation, the need for a solution is increasingly urgent.

Digital textbooks are a promising way to lower costs for students.  The digital format has the potential to cut production costs, increase options for students, and open up the market to more competition.

Digital textbooks are now beginning to gain a more prominent position in the textbooks marketplace, making it a critical time to ensure that they are on the right track.  We are concerned, however, that digital textbooks are on the wrong track.

The Student PIRGs conducted this study to determine how digital textbooks can live up to their potential as a solution.  Through a survey of 504 students from Oregon and Illinois and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles, we confirm three fundamental criteria – affordability, printing options, and accessibility.  We found that publishers’ digital “e-textbooks” fail to meet these criteria, and that an emerging form of digital textbooks – open textbooks – are a perfect match.


1. Digital textbooks must meet three criteria – …

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

3 September 2008 at 2:27 pm

One Response

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  1. They mostly missed one criterion: textbooks should be accessible to people with visual impairments and other pertinent disabilities. (That’s a moral should and a legal should.) With an open textbook, that’s much less likely to be a problem. That “variety of formats” they mention can include some that are really interesting and necessary. When the text isn’t locked up behind a wall of DRM, it’s a lot easier to work with.

    Closed, proprietary e-books, on the other hand, are not so easy to work with. Thoughtless developers make life a lot harder for blind students.



    3 September 2008 at 4:18 pm

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