Making Curriculum Pop

This Fast Company article is interesting because it sets the stage for an battle between Amazon (Kindle), their on demand publishing abilities (Book Surge), Apple and the dark horse Google for the eBook market. Much is written in the article about "the end of publishing houses "and of course this will have much more profound implications for us as educators than the iPod. Like most of you, I really love being able to write in my books - maybe I'm a Luddite that way? eBooks are certainly good for the enviornment.

Anyway, if you want to get a sense of the "future of books" do give the article a read...

An excerpt:

Looking long-term, as readers migrate to digital books, there is a real possibility the basic form of the book will change. It is a process already under way, since the Internet has changed the way people access information, content, and entertainment. Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development at Oxford University Press, believes constant connectivity is a looming threat to an immersive reading experience. "I love to read but I know I read immersively somewhat less now -- and I'm in the publishing industry," he says. "E-books are simply print books in digital form and my question is, Will that be enough? Is that really what we're going to want to be doing?"

If history is any guide, no; the decay of the printed word on paper is part of a predictable pattern of development. The incipient form of a new technology tends to mirror what came before, until innovation and consumer need drive it far beyond its predecessors. The first battlefield tanks looked suspiciously like heavily armored tractors equipped with cannons; early automobiles were called "horseless carriages" for a reason; when newspapers began serving up stories over the Web, the content mirrored what was offered in the print edition. But even as an engineer wouldn't dream of starting with the raw materials for a carriage to design a new sports car, books will move far beyond paper and ink.

Taking on the characteristics of our present online habits, and riding a wave of rapid innovation in screens and microprocessors, books may soon become multimedia events. In this transformative model, the book industry could actually be well-positioned. Publishers could team with authors and multimedia producers to forge a new channel for dynamic e-books that go far beyond linear prose; they may provide a blend of text, video, audio interviews, 3-D maps -- an entire ecosystem of content built on top of the book. For Twilight, the teen-vampire novel by Stephenie Meyer, the multimedia might consist of a video game within the book, mini bios of characters, maps, music, and discussion threads. An interactive element would allow readers to create their own stories, or even their own animated short movies, using the characters in the book. Inevitably, the experience would also include links to products based on the game: T-shirts, action figures, vampire toothbrushes. Suddenly, a book with mere words on a page seems so limited. And not just books. Magazines and newspapers too.

Full Article with images here
Printer Friendly (one long scroll) here.

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