Anne Eisenberg on textbooks Making Science Leap From the Page
Sounds promising, but textbooks publishers have done little to create innovative e-books. I think the digital-only approach is the right one – you can't be a print publisher and dabble in e-books. You're disrupting your core business - print books - and all of the infrastructure and human resources that have been accumulated for a century. True innovation and meaningful disruption will come not from an incumbent, but from a new entrant into e-book publishing.
WHEN a college textbook, “Principles of Biology,” comes out from the Nature Publishing Group in January, one place it won’t be is on the shelves of school bookstores.
That’s because the book was designed to be digital-only. Students will pay not for a printed edition at a bookstore, but for permanent access on the Internet ($49).
And when they open the book on their laptops, tablets and smartphones, they will find other differences, too. True, the text is packed densely with definitions and diagrams — it is meant to teach college-level science, after all, and is from the publishers of the august journal Nature.
Still, this isn’t your usual technical tome. The pages have some pizazz: they are replete with punchy, interactive electronic features — from dynamic illustrations to short quizzes meant to involve students rather than letting them plod, glassy-eyed, from one section to the next. Audio and video clips are woven into the text.
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