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Old 07-17-2019, 11:52 AM   #1
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Pearson Replacing Print Textbooks with Digital For College Students

I just saw this on Slashdot:

Pearson Ditches Print Textbooks For College Students in Digital-First Strategy

They claim that switching focus from updating and printing paper textbooks to keeping digital products current will save them money and reduce the cost to students. They claim that their ebook prices range from about $40-$80 while paper editions can run $200-$300.

We are well into the 21st century, it is about time that textbooks finally catch up with the late 20th century.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:14 PM   #2
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I wonder whether a recent change to how they make their ebooks available on Amazon is related to this. It seems that these textbooks are only sold there with strong DRM.

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=320762
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:15 PM   #3
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Oh please. This is a cash grab, pure and simple. No more secondhand book market to contend with.
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Old 07-17-2019, 12:33 PM   #4
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Oh please. This is a cash grab, pure and simple. No more secondhand book market to contend with.
Professors have been gaming that system for a long time, coming out with new editions every year and requiring the latest edition....ruining used text books anyway.

There is a missing competition mechanism enabling the absurdly high prices of college textbooks having nothing to do with paper vs ebook.
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:51 PM   #5
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There are alternatives, such as the Open Textbook Library, that could in the long run upend the textbook market in the same way the Wikipedia did the encyclopedia market. In the mean time they (Pearson) are going to grab the cash while they can.

Quote:
Textbooks every student can access and afford

Open textbooks are textbooks that have been funded, published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed. These books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost. All textbooks are either used at multiple higher education institutions; or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society, or professional organization. The library currently includes 635 textbooks, with more being added all the time.

Last edited by jhowell; 07-17-2019 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 07-17-2019, 04:19 PM   #6
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There are alternatives, such as the Open Textbook Library, that could in the long run upend the textbook market in the same way the Wikipedia did the encyclopedia market. In the mean time they (Pearson) are going to grab the cash while they can.
That’s fine for high school and below, but that will not ever include more specialized college and graduate level textbooks.

I’ve been looking at math books recently. I’m kind of appalled at how horrible they can be when rendered in reflowable format (replace formulas with embedded image, some of the Apple Books samples were unreadable). I think this is a case where I would strongly prefer PDF (Google offers both in some cases). But this is just a sample of a handful of titles that I looked at.
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Old 07-17-2019, 05:53 PM   #7
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That’s fine for high school and below, but that will not ever include more specialized college and graduate level textbooks.
I don't see why not. I had a quick look, and there are at least some reasonable college textbooks in my field (computer science) over there. Higher level books typically don't make their authors any decent money anyway, so I don't see why they shouldn't release them under open licenses.
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Old 07-17-2019, 10:42 PM   #8
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I don't see why not. I had a quick look, and there are at least some reasonable college textbooks in my field (computer science) over there. Higher level books typically don't make their authors any decent money anyway, so I don't see why they shouldn't release them under open licenses.
Perhaps open source textbooks will gain some momentum, but I’m not seeing it.

I don’t fully understand how Pearson is successful selling textbooks given what is available on the internet for free. If I were teaching computer science, I would not be have my students buying and reading textbooks, I’d have them writing code every day, and coming up with projects on their own.

Khan Academy seems quite good for k-12 and there are no textbooks involved.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
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Perhaps open source textbooks will gain some momentum, but I’m not seeing it.

I don’t fully understand how Pearson is successful selling textbooks given what is available on the internet for free. If I were teaching computer science, I would not be have my students buying and reading textbooks, I’d have them writing code every day, and coming up with projects on their own.

Khan Academy seems quite good for k-12 and there are no textbooks involved.
There is a pretty big difference between k-12 and college.

Perhaps there are a lot of programming material available for free on the internet, but quite a bit of what is available for free in many subjects is questionable at best. I certainly wouldn't want to drive across a bridge designed by someone who learned civil engineering and bridge building from free articles on the internet.

There are certain classic programming books, some of which are college text books, others are not, that every programmer should read. For the most part, a good college education will give you are framework for continuing to educate yourself for the rest of your life. That's true of most subjects.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:16 PM   #10
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I wonder what incentive there is for a professor to actually use open source? Probably not much. My wife's new German textbook costs $200. How much has German changed in the last few years?
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:47 PM   #11
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I wonder what incentive there is for a professor to actually use open source? Probably not much. My wife's new German textbook costs $200. How much has German changed in the last few years?
Some schools get kickbacks from the publishers and force teachers to use textbooks from given sources. It's just part of milking as much money from the students as possible in the new corporatized school systems.
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Old 07-18-2019, 03:06 PM   #12
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Text books are a source of income for professors and colleges....this is nothing new...but it is at an egregious level IMHO.
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Old 07-18-2019, 05:34 PM   #13
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Professors have been gaming that system for a long time, coming out with new editions every year and requiring the latest edition....ruining used text books anyway.

There is a missing competition mechanism enabling the absurdly high prices of college textbooks having nothing to do with paper vs ebook.
in this case, there is still no competition. professors requiring their own yearly updated text books to be used would still not publish ebook versions so they could still take advantage as much as they can.
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Old 07-18-2019, 06:57 PM   #14
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Cash grab.
https://www.newsweek.com/textbook-co...resell-1449860
This is sort of the worst case scenario for ebooks. Drives home the point you are renting, and not owning ebooks.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:02 PM   #15
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I wonder what incentive there is for a professor to actually use open source? Probably not much. My wife's new German textbook costs $200. How much has German changed in the last few years?
A large part of the problem is "Publish or Perish". Advancement in an academic career is strongly influenced by publishing papers and books, and always has been. Academics who don't have a strong record of being published do not get the choice positions.

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