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

tablet with ebook in front of stack of print booksI 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”? [Read more…]

Paper or digital? How to decide the format for your monograph or book

Paper or e-book?A question continues in some stores, “Paper or plastic?” While recyclable bags may make this a thing of the past, other questions continue. Authors continue to ponder whether their book should be a paper copy or an eBook. While this is an important discussion, it should not cause deep thinking.

The obvious answer is both. If a publisher is wise, it will offer a book or monograph in both formats. This is a smart consumer-centric option. Let the buyer decide which they prefer. Let’s discuss, though, each format to see where the market is and the virtues of each one. [Read more…]

How to make your textbook more accessible to students with disabilities

Sandra Ho and Tamara Rorie

Sandra Ho and Tamara Rorie presented a session at TAA’s 2012 June conference titled, “How Authors Can Help Students with Disabilities.”

During the 2008-2009 school year, 2,266,000 students with disabilities were enrolled in U.S. postsecondary educational institutions, comprising 10.8 percent of the total undergraduate student body. These students represent a significant textbook market segment with specific requirements that need to be addressed by authors.

At TAA’s June conference, Sandra Ho, manager of the Student E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP), and Tamara Rorie, Esq., contracts and compliance manager for the Alternative Media Access Center, shared ideas for how to accommodate this student population with e-textbooks in a presentation entitled “How Authors Can Help Individuals with Print Disabilities.” [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…]