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…]

Apple’s iBooks Textbooks & iTunes U Course Manager now available in over 50 countries

Apple® today announced iBooks® Textbooks and iTunes U® Course Manager are expanding into new markets across Asia, Latin America, Europe and elsewhere around the world. iBooks Textbooks bring Multi-Touch™ textbooks with dynamic, current and interactive content to teachers and students in 51 countries now including Brazil, Italy and Japan. iTunes U Course Manager, available in 70 countries now including Russia, Thailand and Malaysia, allows educators to create and distribute courses for their own classrooms, or share them publicly, on the iTunes U app. [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…]

Does ‘first sale’ mean fewer sales?

copyrightSoon after the Supreme Court’s decision this past spring in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, a story in The New York Times gave voice to a widespread concern that a doctrine called “first sale” would soon swallow up a U.S. copyright owner’s right to control and limit importation and redistribution of not only textbooks intended for foreign markets but also of e-books not intended for lending (library or personal).

The Kirtsaeng case turned on a contest for priority between apparently conflicting provisions in the Copyright Act – one setting out the “first sale” doctrine and the other dealing with a copyright owner’s right to control importation of copies of their work. The Supreme Court tipped the scales in favor of first sale and interpreted the right to control importation as essentially non-existent for all practical purposes.1 [Read more…]

Textbook contract Q&A with attorney Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Earlier this fall, TAA hosted an audio conference titled “Contract Negotiation: E-books & E-rights” featuring attorney Lisa Moore, principal of The Moore Firm, LLC. Moore’s outstanding presentation culminated in a rich Q&A discussion that provided valuable insight into textbook publishing contract negotiations.

Following are abbreviated excerpts edited by TAA from the transcripts of that discussion.

Q: When e-rights are granted in a contract, what is the current norm for royalty rates? What are the best e-royalty terms you’ve negotiated for a client or know about in another context?

Lisa Moore: “I will say that 50 percent, whether it’s e-derivatives or verbatim e-reproductions, as I’ll call them, is the best that anyone can get for e-rights. And that’s becoming very, very difficult to achieve for clients — even clients with a proven track record, proven sales of X units, and an extremely wide target audience. [Read more…]

Digital textbooks and pedagogy: An interview with June Parsons & Dan Oja

Dan Oja and June ParsonsComputer ConceptsDigital book pioneers June Parsons and Dan Oja co-developed the first commercially successful multimedia, interactive digital textbook; one that set the bar for platforms now being developed by educational publishers.

The coauthors began writing and creating educational software for Course Technology in 1992 and between them have authored more than 150 college computer textbooks. They currently have several digital textbooks in print, including the best-selling New Perspectives on Computer Concepts.

Parsons has a doctorate in instructional technology and has taught at the university level for more than 20 years. Oja is an experienced programmer. He developed BookOnPublish, a software tool for assembling and publishing multimedia digital books.

Here Parsons and Oja talk to TAA about digital textbooks and pedagogy: [Read more…]