Wednesday, January 06, 2010

How Textbooks Might Look on a Tablet?

This video shows what textbook publishers are imagining.  Two things jump out at me:

1) This seems far less innovative than what magazine publishers are thinking of doing on a tablet platform.  Print media seems to still be struggling with how to best embrace new digital platforms.  I understand and appreciate the need to be able to  reference and view pages like they would appear in a printed textbook.  (Some students and faculty will likely use print versions in parallel with people using tablet editions of textbooks.)  Still, it seems like there is a lot of room for interacting with equations, having animated graphics to show relationships between variables, better integration of multimedia, etc.

2) What’s up with textbooks expiring?  If publishers want to get away with that, they better charge 50% or less the price of the print edition and give the option to permanently buy the book.  Some of my textbooks never see the light of day after I’m done with a class, but the best are ones I refer back to frequently.  And especially if I put a lot of time creating notes and highlights, I would not want to see all of my reference material and annotations suddenly “vaporize” or require constantly repurchasing the textbook.  That’s a quick way to keep people in the paper-bound world.

1 comment:

Juris Naturalist said...

Since most textbooks are merely rented rather than bought, those which you keep get sold more often. This might make an interesting empirical test. Which textbooks still reside on the shelves of your professors? These are more likely to go through many new editions. You probably have a newer edition of the same books!