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Old 11-18-2011, 09:26 AM   #16
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No need to ban them if you're " tidying " up Wall Street - just grab all 5,000+ and throw them in a dumpster, put a guard around it so no-one can save any, and don't even cover them, so the rain'll destroy them.

See Los Angeles Times / The Independent today.

Sheesh......
I saw that. Bastards.

It does turn out that a lot of the books were saved, and are in storage. Don't know if it was all of them, though. I imagine the OWS librarians are going through them now, or will soon, to work out what the damage was.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #17
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Might lower the university's costs, but it won't lower the student's costs one cent. Especially if the textbook companies sell the students self- destructing e-textbooks.
Depends on the books and the course. I'm guessing that you'd break even with your first English Lit class, or anything else that can use public domain books.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:46 AM   #18
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Practically, there are several problems with this.

1) FORMAT: you need all books available in the same format so that students only need one reader. This means all publishers need to support all formats or they all need to agree on one format and one DRM system.

2) SCREEN SIZE: many texts need larger screens. You need to be able to fit graphics/diagrams on the same page at the same time. It's tough to do in six inches, and large screens are much more expensive.

3) ADA: Some schools have tried ebook experiments, but they have fallen afoul of accessibility regulations.

4) COSTS: it is tough to require students to buy another piece of hardware. Especially, if it isn't a single, universal device.

All of this can be fixed, and when it is, I believe the book prices will more than payoff any upfront hardware costs. However, there is quite a lot of work to solve all of these for most players. It would require a total ecosystem approach from an Apple or Amazon, for example.
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:21 AM   #19
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I still maintain that the hardware would need to be more robust than hitherto.
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:27 AM   #20
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Right direction, we'll get there, but not quite there right now.
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:45 PM   #21
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Actually, I see it happening now but in India or China.

Take the 35/65 dollar Indian ereader. Have the government hire someone to create a textbook. The government pays a flat rate (a salary) and makes the text free to school children. Even with loss and breakage of the hardware it would probably be cheaper than providing physical texts to several hundred million students.

... But can you picture the issues with producing a government approved history text in an open political system like the US? Who gets the say on what events get included? The editorial tone? Will it get re-edited each time the administration changes? I'm sure we can overcome bias charges by building a huge bearaucracy of fact checkers, and a bipartisan commission or two.
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:05 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by carpetmojo View Post
What a great idea !

Of course, it is plainly obvious that the publishers will realise their social responsibility and support for education, and sell the etexts at very reasonable prices, thus helping hard-pressed students.

In fact they may sensibly offer to sell the texts "on lease", again at a reasonable price, for the length of the student's course, accepting that that is all most will need them for.

It's as plain as the nose on yer face.
I think the publisher practices are ridiculous, kind of ...

Look up the net margins for publically traded textbook (wiley,mpearson, ...) companies and you will see numbers around nine percent, which I wouldn't call outlandish. It's clear that, given the current business models the all the publishers tricks keep them in business, and don't create unusual profits. We need to propose another way of producing texts if we want prices to drop.
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Old 11-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #23
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A lot of the responses here are along the lines of "this is a horrible idea because of the current state of the ebook industry."

Don't worry: It will get better.

I wouldn't suggest that we're ready to abandon print texts for ebooks in schools yet, though we are ready to begin the process. One thing that's sorely lacking is the equivalent e-versions of the print texts being used now, but that will change. Some schools are giving new students iPads, laptops or other electronic devices; and many students already have devices. We can use format standardization, but that's a need for the entire ebook industry, not just for education.

Oh... and e-texts can be backed up. How often do you copy and store away copies of printed texts?

So, there's no reason to expect that that schools can't eventually move all students (and faculty) to a digital-based text system.

One other thing: The example mentioned in the article, suggesting students surrender all print material, is quite obviously extremist. No need to get bent out of shape over an exaggerated scenario.
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Old 11-19-2011, 06:35 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by emellaich View Post
Practically, there are several problems with this.

[snip]
2) SCREEN SIZE: many texts need larger screens. You need to be able to fit graphics/diagrams on the same page at the same time. It's tough to do in six inches, and large screens are much more expensive.
This, in particular. Textbooks differ, but I just opened one of my 15-year-old law school textbooks, with the usual small print and dual column pages; it looks like each page of text is the size of 4 6" e-book reader pages. Meaning that if the book is opened flat, I would need the equivalent screen size of *8* e-book readers to have the same information in front of me.

Of course, the book is also 1,600 pages long and weighs 10 lbs, so there would definitely be some advantages to an e-reader (and carrying 3-4 of these books presents its own ADA issues...).

But right now, e-books are significantly inferior at being actual textbooks.

And multimedia ability might be useful for a high school textbook, but it is something of a joke for a college or grad school/professional school text. In most of my law school classes, I basically needed to read 100's of cases (and a few statutes, regulations, commentaries, etc.) to understand how the law developed in a particular area. A short video of a supreme court justice speaking, or of a bridge in a case involving a bridge, would be a waste of time. (And in a rare instance where some multimedia would be useful, an URL would be more than enough).

There might be a few fields where multimedia would be more useful,but I think for most fields at the college level, it would just be fluff.

[snip]

All of this can be fixed, and when it is, I believe the book prices will more than payoff any upfront hardware costs. However, there is quite a lot of work to solve all of these for most players. It would require a total ecosystem approach from an Apple or Amazon, for example.[/QUOTE]

This is probably true.
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Old 11-20-2011, 12:52 AM   #25
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I would think battery life has to be longer. Somewhere around 24 hours.
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:42 AM   #26
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Doesn't sound very attractive to me.

1. I doubt that it is possible to do reasonable research without a library yet, as many sources may not be available yet. Obviously this may differ depending on the subject.
2. One of the attractions of working in the library is to read up stuff you accidentally happen to come across
3. How are students supposed to meet cute fellow students of the opposite sex without the coffee breaks in the library?
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:25 AM   #27
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Oh... and e-texts can be backed up. How often do you copy and store away copies of printed texts?
If you think that textbook companies won't use the most restrictive form of DRM on the market, and also try to find ways to make those textbooks self- destruct at the end of the semester; then I've got some beach front property in Waco to sell you. We're dealing with a business model dedicated to shafting the living hell out of a captive audience here, not even a traditional print publisher that has to compete with other print publishers.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:49 PM   #28
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If you think that textbook companies won't use the most restrictive form of DRM on the market, and also try to find ways to make those textbooks self- destruct at the end of the semester; then I've got some beach front property in Waco to sell you. We're dealing with a business model dedicated to shafting the living hell out of a captive audience here, not even a traditional print publisher that has to compete with other print publishers.
Just because they may want to use such restrictive practices, doesn't mean colleges, states and national governments will let them. I wouldn't assume schools, students, their parents, and their congresspeople, will simply roll over and let them get away with "shafting the hell" out of everyone they want with impunity.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:51 PM   #29
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Doesn't sound very attractive to me.

1. I doubt that it is possible to do reasonable research without a library yet, as many sources may not be available yet. Obviously this may differ depending on the subject.
2. One of the attractions of working in the library is to read up stuff you accidentally happen to come across
3. How are students supposed to meet cute fellow students of the opposite sex without the coffee breaks in the library?
1: You have heard about the interwebs, right?

2: You have heard about the interwebs, right?

3: You have heard about Starbucks, right?
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Old 11-20-2011, 06:35 PM   #30
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Just because they may want to use such restrictive practices, doesn't mean colleges, states and national governments will let them. I wouldn't assume schools, students, their parents, and their congresspeople, will simply roll over and let them get away with "shafting the hell" out of everyone they want with impunity.
What do you mean "get away with"? Colleges have been aiding and abetting them for at least a decade, and probably more than that. Why else would the University of Houston have an 80% textbook turnover per semester? Or professors occasionally getting outed in kickback schemes that vanish from the news a day or two later?

As for the governments, they're totally oblivious. All they care about is funneling students through, regardless of how big a student loan debt they end up with or whether the degree will actually help them get a job or not. Same with parents; just give the kid a student loan and let them pay for it all later on down the line.
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