Is digital really better than print? Authors share their perspective

ebook tablet on bookshelfWhile the debate over print versus digital textbooks (etextbooks) is not new, the content of that debate has shifted in recent years to which is a more effective learning tool for students. As publishers, instructors and students push towards offering more digital textbooks and learning products, will the benefits outweigh the negatives? Several studies have found that it not only takes readers longer to read text on a screen, they tend to skim much more and thus absorb and retain less information than reading from a physical book. Other etextbook readers have reported the tendency to multi-task while reading. One study reported that 90% of students said they were more likely to multi-task when reading onscreen versus 1% who said they multi-task when reading a print book.

In a recent discussion in CONNECT, TAA’s online member community, members shared their experiences with textbook publishers’ trend toward more digital products: [Read more…]

The most useful textbook & academic writing posts of the week: March 6, 2015

Wednesday was National Grammar Day.talk grammar to me, baby Twitter was abuzz with grammar haikus, pet peeves, and funny cartoons. It’s a day filled with fun to remember all we love, and maybe hate, about grammar. Why you ask is National Grammar Day different than say any other day? No one explains it better than Dennis Baron in his article, “Why is National Grammar Day different from all other days?”

So without going on and on, and in fear of making too many grammatical errors, I leave you to read all the great articles I’ve gathered for you this week. Happy writing! [Read more…]

Why print is still winning

w-onlinereading0221The debate about digital textbooks (etextbooks) and whether they will replace their physical counterparts continues this week with recent findings from the University of Washington. Their study showed that roughly 25% of students who were given free versions of etextbooks still purchased a physical copy of the same book.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

Another survey done by Student Monitor found that 87% of college students purchased their textbooks as physical books, not etextbooks. Moreover, as mentioned in this Washington Post piece, “Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer [Read more…]

Amazon offers new tool for creating etextbooks, Kindle Textbook Creator

etextbooksAmazon has a new tool, Kindle Textbook Creator, to help educators and authors prepare, publish, and promote etextbooks and other educational content that can be accessed on Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, Android smartphones and tablets, Mac, and PC.

Kindle Textbook Creator, offered through the new KDP EDU segment of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, can be used to turn PDFs of textbooks and course materials into Kindle books and upload them to KDP in just a few simple steps. [Read more…]

CourseSmart inks deal to bring e-textbooks to Arab world

CourseSmart®, a leading digital content services company and the world’s largest provider of digital course materials, today announced a strategic partnership with Naseej, the leading knowledge solutions provider in the Arab World. This agreement will provide Higher Education Institutions in the region with access to the largest library of eTextbook resources from over 50 publishers. [Read more…]

Will print textbooks become obsolete?

Tips of the Trade ImageQ: “Are print textbooks likely to become obsolete soon in favor of digital ones?”

A: Elizabeth Boepple, Presenter of the TAA-sponsored workshop on how to prepare camera-ready copy:

“I think this depends on the intended function of the book and the time-critical nature of the content. We’re using electronic books to retain control over frequent updates, include Internet Hyperlinks for recent changes in research, and to easily distribute corrections and revisions. At the moment, I’m preparing an electronic version so that I can include movie clips of screen captures with audio for tutorials. It’s a great medium to eliminate the exorbitant cost of color printing, also. (A lot of great graphical material fits on one CD.) We have also found that we can self-publish more easily and get to press more quickly with electronic versions. On the other hand, marketing is time-consuming when you self publish.”

A: Stan Gibilisco, TAA Member:

“I do not think so. Reference books such as dictionaries and encyclopedias have been affected by the Internet. For quick reference, especially while writing on a computer, the Internet is an unbeatable resource. With a high-speed connection such as we have here in the Black Hills ‘technology corridor,’ it is easier to go to the Internet than to the dictionaries and encyclopedias I have right here in my office.

Textbooks, however, are somewhat different because lots of people still like to study from a device that requires no boot-up (taking about the same length of time as an old tube-type radio from the 1930s), acquires no viruses or other malware, does not compromise their privacy, and does not result in cumulative trauma disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. One can put a good old printed book in a backpack, go to the library or a cafe or wherever, and work without any of the electronic muss and fuss that goes along with any computer. [Read more…]