What Do We Want for E-Books?

Last year e-book sales on Amazon outstripped “dead tree” book sales. Currently, digital textbooks are only about 2.5% of the $5.5 billion annual market in new textbook sales, but in three years it’s expected to be nearly 20%. The Kindles have been one of Amazon’s best selling items, and the iPad, which supports many e-readers in addition to iBooks, makes more money for Apple than do sales of all its laptop and desktop computers combined. iBooks 2 and Inkling on iPad can display e-textbooks with video, presentations, quizzing, and all sorts of spiffy interactives. The new Amazon KF8 book format will allow for rich content e-textbooks. The recently finalized EPUB 3 Recommendation supports video, audio, multi-column layouts, beautifully rendered and accessible math, and just about any form of interactivity a JavaScript-wielding¬†author can shove onto the page.

E-books are here and e-textbooks are coming fast. Consider:
  • Culture: How will they impact our approach to teaching, course construction, curricular design? What are the day-to-day issues that may confront students and teachers using e-books in the classroom?Photo illustration of a picture of an Kindle. On the screen is a picture of an old hardcover book with the text This is Not a Book (in French).
  • Cost: Will e-textbooks do what is promised and actually save money for students (and for the institution)? How will infrastructure (such as our LMS) support them or is the institution in for headaches? If they are delivered on particular devices only (iBooks and Inkling are, currently, just iPad, for example), how do we guarantee student access to these devices?
  • Function: What is your favorite platform and why? What are your top e-readers and why? What does the software/e-reader not do that it should be doing? What absolutely must it do to be even considered for deployment/implementation on campus? Should we be talking about format (EPUB 3) rather than device/platform?
Last year, I was involved in a research study looking at usability of e-books with students with disabilities. In the fall, OSU will be running an e-textbook pilot, and there is already talk of on-going pilots. At some point, the campus will need to develop a “strategy” on e-books — an OCIO committee has formed to begin such discussions.¬†So, let’s talk some more!
Categories: Publishing, Sessions, Teaching |
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About petri.1

I'm interested in technology as prosthesis--how technology augments who we are--with a particular interest in technology and disability.