|08-15-2005, 03:48 PM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2002
Device: Sony PRS-650 / Nexus 7 / Kindle PW
McGraw and Zinio offer digital textbooks at half-price
This probably won't impress e-book fans, but McGraw-Hill Higher Education and Zinio are teaming up to bring 150 or so digital textbooks to computer-savvy students. The digital editions are available at about 50 percent off list price and can be viewed online on any computer with an Internet connection or downloaded to an individual's computer (not both).
While online viewing allows access from any computer, you'll be given a limited set number of page-views of the book and only one free option to print it out in full. The second option, e-book downloads, requires Zinio Reader to be installed on your Windows or Mac machine. A downloaded e-book cannot be transferred to another computer. As far as it appears it doesn't expire. You will be able to print your e-book pages as often as you want, unless the publisher chooses to restrict printing rights. Some download Zinio books will offer flash, video and audio rich media content.
Zinio has a few samples online:
For more check out their Web site and also this Flash presentation.
Related: The doomed to fail e-book experiment at Princeton and some other schools which was announced last week.
|08-15-2005, 04:06 PM||#2|
Recovering Gadget Addict
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Not too bad a deal if you can print the whole thing once using a pdf print driver. Unless it errors out, at least you can then be confident that technology changes are unlikely to steal your copy away from you or that you'll "run out of page views." Come on! But if I could print to unprotected pdf, I'd probably consider buying my books that way.
There may be problems though. On a college campus with lots of poor cash-strapped students with zero extra cash, odds are it would just get passed around to everyone instead of being purchased. And textbooks/reference books are my least favorite type of ebook. The interface is great for reading text front to back, but some books you just want to be able to flip through with your fingers and see lots of pages fast on real paper. Can't really get close to that unless you have a tablet pc.
Good thing is that if people like this kind of ebook, they'll really love "regular books"! And it might even save a few backs from early back pain!
|08-15-2005, 04:23 PM||#3|
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New London, CT
Device: Direct Neural Implant
Three Words: No Thank You
|09-13-2005, 07:20 PM||#4|
Thoughts on digital textbooks
Last year, as part of my "senior project" at Stanford, I worked with Zinio to gather feedback about digital textbooks from students. There were some students who didn't like the idea of reading on the screen. However, a majority really liked the digital textbooks offered by Zinio. Since the project was completed in the spring, Zinio has dramatically improved their reader.
Hacker, have you checked out their new version? It is nothing at all like a giant pdf. Multimedia features are embedded in the pages, navigation is extremely easy, and you can digitally annotate, take notes, and highlight. Plus, you can search the text for words and phrases, a feature students found extremely useful.
The Zinio textbooks are half the price of the regular printed versions, and they never expire.
Digital textbooks are exact replicas of the printed texts. Neither the publishers nor Zinio would have any incentive to change the texts... the whole selling point is that they are exact replicas of the printed versions.
There are some important issues still to be worked out. First, you are right that some students really don't like the restriction of being able to access the textbook on only one computer. I don't know what Zinio is going to do about this problem, but I know they are working with the publishers to consider various solutions.
There are always going to be people who prefer printed textbooks. However, for those who like the digital features, like paying half as much, like not having to lug around heavy books all the time, care about saving trees and eliminating waste, and don't mind reading on screens, digital textbooks are a nice alternative to printed texts.
|09-13-2005, 07:50 PM||#5|
Join Date: Aug 2003
Device: Dell Axim
That's and interesting discussion. I've tried Zinio in the past and I have to admit for reading full-length magazines I like it much better than Adobe Acrobat. But would I use it to replace a college textbook? Perhaps it requires some practice, but somehow I think I'd be much faster annotating and skimming through paper textbooks than through an electronic edition.
Do you have any numbers from your project comparing studends pro and against using digital textbooks?
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