14 December 2008

More Online Books, Textbooks and Publishing

The best overall reference for online textbooks is Textbook Revolution. Many other textbooks can be found scattered about the web, usually at the author's website, and usually published for the Adobe Reader.

Al Fin has nothing against the Adobe Reader format, which has provided a wonderful publishing service -- good for both online reading and for downloading published material. But a competitor for the Adobe format, Scribd, is finding a large number of converts, and for good reason.

Here is the list of online textbooks at the Scribd website. Here is the full list of online book topics at Scribd.

eBooks will finally blossom into their own when electronic ink and electronic paper are optimised in an inexpensive and readily available form. The ideal eBook reader would read all of the important formats, and give free access to websites and all online materials. Update: This review of the Sony eBook reader by Scottish SF writer Gary Gibson gives a favourable first hand account of 6 months of use for the Sony device. H/T Futurismic

Of course, at the present rate of convergence, the typical palm-held device of the near future will have an eBook reader built-in, to go with everything else we are coming to expect from our iPhones and their clones.

Update Bonus Question: How will exam proctors keep test takers from cheating, when most of them are wearing implantable electronic skin tattoos that function like eBook readers, iPhones, web browsers etc. and can communicate with any number of other similar eTattoos scattered about the exam room?

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Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

If an open source method of editing can be devised which overcomes the drawbacks of current methods - something which required qualifications and had a mature means of dispute resolution - then textbooks could be created, updated and made free to education institutions, private and public anywhere on the planet where internet access was available. different curricula could assemble chapters, subjects and learning aids as they saw fit without having to make students buy an expensive new edition every year because the publisher decided to rearrange a few sentences and the page order.

Sunday, 14 December, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Yes. Some textbook publishers have attempted something like that with loose-leaf editions (Sci-Am Medicine) and others.

But as you say, Baron, with the new electronic methods of publishing, distribution, and a new generation of eBook readers, the flexibility available to publishers is unprecedented.

Sunday, 14 December, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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