Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Textbook publishers jump into custom e-books big time

As reported by the Chronicle of Higher Ed, McGraw Hill and MacMillan, among others, are either launching or revamping their custom books services hoping that an emphasis on e-books will ignite what has been moribund demand for custom p-books.  

For years, major textbook publishers have offered professors the option of customizing textbooks—cutting unneeded chapters or adding original material—but the vast majority have stuck with the official versions. As e-textbooks gain popularity, however, publishers are betting that the "build-a-book" option, as it is sometimes called, will take off.

. . . .

'The reality is by and large they don’t customize,' said Ed Stanford, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education, in an interview. 'We think the more all this becomes digital, the more people will want to customze, and we want to be able to do that. McGraw-Hill officials say custom textbooks are now the fastest-growing area of the industry.

For a "p-book" that argues "e-books," especially those with embedded links and other features that potentially distract the reader, are "bad-books" in terms of promoting critical thinking skills, check out The Shallows by Michael Carr (author of the popular Atlantic Monthly article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?").

To read more about custom e-book options, click here.


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