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What is the Future of the Textbook?

What is the Future of the Textbook?

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What is the Future of the Textbook?

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  1. What is the Future of the Textbook? e-Books ? College lease hardcopy Online editions hybrids Rental Harry E. Pence Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus SUNY Oneonta

  2. The current textbook model is no longer working for the publishers. • The used book market has become very efficient, especially the Internet market. • As a result, the textbook the production cycle is becoming shorter and shorter. • Publishers want to avoid the mistakes that the recording industry made. The Man in Books Andre Martins de Barros

  3. The current textbook model no longer works for students. • Textbooks cost $600-1000 a year, and fewer students are buying them. The weight of most textbooks is increasing. Are e-textbooks the answer?

  4. According to the 2010 Campus Computing survey, 86% of tech leaders agree that e-book content “will be an important source for instructional resources in five years,” up from 75% a year ago. • The 2010 Horizon Report predicts e-books will be important in 2-3 years. • And yet, less than 5 percent of all college classes currently use e-books. • Will E-textbooks always be five years in the future?

  5. Publishers are eager to shift to e-textbooks but there may be Roadblocks Ahead. • There are questions about privacy, digital rights management, and censorship concerns. • And representatives for the blind have been aggressive about legally challenging universities from deploying e-readers until they accessible to sight-impaired students. • The biggest roadblock is surely the multitude of mutually exclusive formats.

  6. The world of e-books is very fragmented. • Each device has different capabilities and limitations. • Almost every device seems to have an exclusive proprietary standard. • Sometimes it seems like a modern Tower of Babel! Tower of Babel Abel Grimmer (1570-1619)

  7. What do students think about e-textbooks for classes? Campus Technology 5/1/10 • This article describes three universities that conducted e-reader pilot projects (Kindle DX and Sony). • According to the article, students felt that e-readers were not yet adequate to highlight , make notes, or quickly skim through passages to review and compare information. • A Princeton student wrote, “This is the future, but we’re not quite there yet.” Big Bang Theory – Penny & Sheldon

  8. On Sept. 29, 2010 Scholastic Press released “The 2010 Kids and Family Reading Report” which reported that: • 25% of young people (ages 9 thru 17) have already tried a digital book. • 57% of them say they're interested in reading on a device such as the Kindle or iPad, but two-thirds of them wouldn’t give up traditional books. • By contrast, only 6% of parents have an electronic reading device, 16% plan to have one within the coming year, and 76% have no plans to buy one. “In Study, Children Cite Appeal of Digital Reading’” NY Times, 9/29/10 pg. C3

  9. “In a Digital Age, Students still Cling to Paper Textbooks. (NY Times, 10/20/10 A21). • From the Educause 2010 Survey-

  10. Eat your spinach, or else! How do we respond to the lack enthusiasm for e-textbooks among the “digital generation?” • The Chronicle of Higher Education (10/29/10, A1) says, “For a real disruption in the textbook market, students may have to be forced to change.” E-textbooks should be required and the colleges (?) should pay for them (emphasis added).

  11. The Campus-wide Lease Model • This January, Daytona State College will pay publishers to grant students access to electronic versions of the texts. All students are required to pay the fee. • The California State University system is embarking on a similar program that would involve only 32 courses. • Many for-profit institutions use a similar model.

  12. Some arguments, pro and con. • The digital materials fee will probably be less than $30 per course. • Individual faculty will still be able to choose textbooks. • Students may either print out their textbooks or use the fee to buy a hardcopy version. • Will students have permanent access to their e-books, and what online format the books will have? • Will publishers raise their prices as soon as used book companies vanish.

  13. Self Published textbooks • It is now easy to self publish a textbook. • Services like Lulu, Book Brew, OnDemand Books, and even Wikipedia are convenient and relatively inexpensive. Some teachers know exactly what they want their students to know, and no commercial textbook matches what they have in mind.

  14. Students are finding new ways to obtain their textbooks. • Could I have some more gruel, please?

  15. Textbook rentals • Online sites, like Chegg and, copy the Netflix model. • The service functions very much like Netflix. • In addition, over 1,500 college bookstores now rent textbooks. (NY Times, 10/20/10 A21)

  16. Another option is to use a wikitextbook, either one available online or one the students write themselves. • The wikibooks site has more than 2,372 open-content textbooks that anyone can edit. • Which is more important, process or product? • Publishers seem to be moving towards even more fundamental changes than just traditional material as e-books.

  17. CourseSmart is supported by many of the leading publishers. • CourseSmart claims that its, “. . . catalog includes over 90% of the core textbooks in use today in North American Higher Education as eTextbooks, . . .” • CourseSmart eTextbooks are available for any web browser or for most devices, such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. •

  18. McGraw-Hill and companies like Inkling and Flat World Knowledge are developingcustom-publishing systems. • Macmillan’s Dynamic Books are designed to be remixable, so professors can reorganize or delete chapters; add notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and even rewrite or delete individual sentences. • These books are planned to sell for about 1/3 as much as traditional textbooks. • (remember- true cost = purchase (used?) – resale).

  19. All the trends seem to point towards using independent learning modules for teaching. • Recently, I heard a rep from Pearson say that in five years they expect that only ten percent of their income will come from traditional book publications. Are we moving towards a fragmentation of content?

  20. Joshua Kim predicts that curricular content will be consumed in shorter chunks, by increasing numbers of non-traditional students, and across multiple times and places. • A Nielsen survey says a significant number of people are watching video on smartphones, and this number is increasing. • For an example, supported by Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, see .

  21. Could digital coursepacks on iPad-like devices be the future of the textbook? • David Lubliner suggests the term E2-books for learning objects like the i-Pad. • Several publishers are involved in a Virginia middle school project (history and biology) that replaces textbooks with digital information on iPads and also lets students create their own content. •

  22. At least three vendors are moving towards “liquid textbooks,” Symtext, XanEDU, and Study.Net. • The shift from paper page reading to screen reading may be more profound than we may think.

  23. Jennifer Thurston says that, “. . . It is doubtful that the print-reading skills to which most of us are accustomed are adequate for efficient screen reading. . .” • She suggests that e2-texts, rich in graphics displays, video, and sound, require different navigational skills. • With hyperlinks, the reader creates a unique version of the “text” as he or she reads. Chap. 4, “Screen Reading: Challenges of the New Literacy”, Jennifer Thurston, (pg 91- 109) Cyberlines 2.0: Languages and Cultures of the Internet, Donna Gibbs and Kerri-Lee Krause, James Nicholas Publishers, Albert Park, Australia, 2006.

  24. Anne Cranny-Francis says the multimodal environment implies not only new technologies but also new cultural practices. • Information storage is no longer just about text. • Web page design is becoming a critical skill. • Links define reading differently than footnotes. • It is not either/or, text vs. image literacy, but rather both, as well as how they interact. Chap. 6,“Connexions”, Anne Cranny-Francis, (pg 135-174) Cyberlines 2.0: Languages and Cultures of the Internet, Donna Gibbs and Kerri-Lee Krause, James Nicholas Publishers, Albert Park, Australia, 2006.

  25. “Reading in a whole new way.” by Kevin Kelly Screen reading nurtures and rewards thinking in real time! • Will we soon be like Tom Cruise in the movie Minority Report (2002) scanning a database with gestures like a symphony conductor?

  26. The nature of links is changing. • For example, see a free program called apture ( • It lets you look up content without ever leaving a page. And you can paste the information into the document. Imagine what this could do in a textbook.

  27. In THE Journal (Nov. 2010), John Bailey, Director of the U.S. Office of Educational Technology from 2001 to 2004, said: • “Using the Kindle app on my iPad, I’ve been loving the social highlighting feature in which you can see the passages in the book that hundreds of other people have highlighted and thought were important. That suddenly takes textbooks and reading to a whole new level.” • How would this change the learning process?

  28. Fluidity of Knowledge • The shift from paper to screen makes knowledge more fluid. • It can change as we are looking at it. • The reader must not only adjust to fragmented information space, but also to transmedia (i.e. distributed media) spaces.

  29. According to Henry Jenkins,

  30. The Matrix Franchise is a true Transmedia Story. • In The Matrix franchise, information is communicated through three live action films, a series of animated shorts, two comic books, and several video games. See Convergence Culture, Chap 3

  31. “. . . we are in the midst of a generational shift in cognitive styles that poses significant challenges to education at all levels, including colleges and universities.” N. Katherine Hayles Profession, 2007, pp. 187-199 • Kevin Kelly says we are now in the middle of a second Gutenberg shift from book fluency to screen fluency, from literacy to visuality. • It would appear that the problem goes far beyond the changing nature of the textbook, and may well encompass significant changes in how our students learn.

  32. Like the iceberg, the textbook question may include a lot under the surface that is important. • For the present, the future of the textbook has too many choices and not enough clarity.

  33. What do you think will be the future of the textbook ? • Thank you for listening. Any Comments?