Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tomorrow's Texts

Digital books are still in there infancy. I know they hardly seem like news, but the marketplace is still trying to figure out how digital books fit, and publishers, authors, and readers alike are still very much in conversation about how eBooks differ from traditional paper books.

I have been investigating the future of digital books at Calvin, and I've learned that the transition to eBooks is just starting and that it isn't going smoothly or easily. Textbook publishers, curriculum creators, and mass market publishers are all in different places and using different models to distribute their books. Some books are very interactive, while others are simply PDFs.

If a school would like to own thirty copies of a hardcover textbook that they can lend students, there isn't a problem. Try buying thirty digital copies of an interactive textbook, and you'll spend plenty of time just trying to explain to befuddled publishers what you want. Is it a conceptual problem? A technical issue? A money matter? Well, it seems all three are pretty significant factors, each shaping the future of books, libraries, and schools.

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