What do modern students want in a textbook? Writers want to know.

I was intrigued by an article in Research Information, a newsletter for libraries and publishers. “The rise and rise of e-reading” discussed the growth in electronic textbooks and articles. As a writer I have been intrigued by the potential for embedding interactive components and live links in texts, but disappointed to find that such materials are more typically relegated to a companion website. In my previous faculty role, I noticed a gap between the university’s enthusiasm for adopting e-books, and my students’ preference for paper textbooks. As a reader, I prefer e-books when I read for enjoyment, but usually like paper when I am working with textbooks. I thought I’d dig a bit more, and share what I discover with you, my fellow writers.

What did publishers say in “The rise and rise of e-reading”?

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: September 7, 2018

Russell Baker once said, “The only thing I was fit for was to be a writer, and this notion rested solely on my suspicion that I would never be fit for real work, and that writing didn’t require any.” As writers, we can certainly acknowledge the work such a craft requires, and in the genres of academic and textbook authoring the wide range of additional concerns for balance, accuracy, research integrity, and innovation in our writing efforts.

This week our collection of posts from around the web begins with a question, “Are there only four kinds of writers?” inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, The four tendencies. This evaluation of a writer is paired with authoring benefits, ways to improve academic output, time and energy management, research methods, diversity in peer review, critical and creative thinking, and privacy in user research – all factors of consideration for the academic author, regardless the type. Finally, we close this week’s list with considerations of the future of our profession, with new approaches to textbook development and e-book potential, the realities of open source and scholarly publishing, and significant changes in the trend toward open access in scientific publishing.

As you embark on your writing efforts in the week ahead, I encourage you to recognize and embrace the real work involved in the writing process and to find encouragement and support to continue those efforts. Happy writing!

The most useful textbook & academic posts of the week: December 15, 2017

Halfway through the final month of the year, as the fall semester comes to an end for academics, we’re often faced with a mix of emotions related to the satisfying end of one term, the upcoming holiday “break” ahead, and the new challenges that await in the new year. It can be a time of reflection, gratitude, stress, innovation, or a multitude of these and other feelings. Our selection of articles this week reflect all of them.

We begin with gratitude and praise for the family members, especially academic spouses, who support us throughout the year, and tackle the stress of stalls in our progress and ways to break through the doldrums. We then explore some of the concerns facing academic and textbook authors, such as predatory publishers and the consideration of e-books vs. physical textbooks. Finally, we share a number of posts related to innovation and moving forward on your writing projects including: the state of innovation in scholarly communication today, big data, interdisciplinary efforts, finding the gaps for grant funding opportunities, citing “grey literature” such as blogs, and new tools to support your research and collaboration efforts.

Although we hope you find inspiration from this collection to move forward in your own textbook and academic writing efforts, don’t wait for inspiration to get moving. As Lawrence C. Connolly says, “Writing is something I do everyday. If I waited for inspiration, I’d never get anything done.”

How to make your textbook more accessible to students with disabilities

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