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Old 08-10-2008, 11:25 AM   #18
Danny Fekete
Electronic Education Buff
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Electronic distribution would knock a few $ or perhaps 10s of $ off prices. You're never going to get $5 organic chemistry textbooks.
Perhaps not yet, but through Connexions, you can get a $20 textbook, hardcover. I haven't evaluated their printing facilities in comparison with larger commercial operations so I can't speak to the difference in quality, but my impression from Baraniuk's talk is that the price is obviated by the print-on-demand architecture combined with a complete (and voluntary, and legal) disregard for contributor monetary remuneration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
[. . .] it's a combination of very low sales (compared with fiction) and very high production costs which make them expensive. In the example you mention above, the "specialised equipment" to produce a technical illustration would still have been required whether that picture ends up on paper or in an electronic document.
I offer a trade in theoretical costs, Harry: we've been ignoring the cost of commissioning artwork, which I don't think is yet taken into account by Connexions (and would require the same prestige imperatives of academe or the same altruism of progressive pedagogy; this is something that the Creative Commons movement may solve, but I don't think we're there yet). I will admit this cost, but I think it fair that you should admit, where digital transmission (even legal, golly-whiz) is involved, the fancier things we can do with print technology, such as transparent overlays and super high-resolution, can be achieved with current image and video embedding technology, and can be produced for a nominal fee if not gratis by the author of these materials with equipment and software owned/licensed by his or her institution. What say you?

(Also, in honest curiosity and full cordiality, I was wondering what your field of study is, Harry. I didn't realise this was an area touching you personally, and if I've hurt your feelings with my approach in this conversation, please accept my sincere apologies.)

Last edited by Danny Fekete; 08-10-2008 at 11:27 AM.
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