Updated: 3/13/2009; 9:19:00 AM.
EduResources Weblog--Higher Education Resources Online
This weblog focuses on locating, evaluating, discussing, and providing guidelines to instructional resources for faculty and students in higher education. The emphasis is on free, shared, HE resources. Related topics and news (about commercial resources, K-12 resources, T&D resources, educational technology, digital libraries, distance learning, open source software, metadata standards, cognitive mapping, etc.) will also be discussed--along with occasional excursions into more distant miscellaneous topics in science, computing, and education. The EduResources Weblog operates in conjunction with a broader weblog called The Open Learner about using open knowledge resources across a diversity of subjects, levels, and interests for a wide range of learners and learning communities--students in schools and colleges, home schoolers, hobbyists, vocational learners, retirees, and others.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I highly recommend this article by Ben Crowell who has been focused for more than five years on issues related to providing free books. (Ben has written free physics textbooks and also maintains a valuable web site, The Assayer,  that reviews free books.) ______JH


"My own attempt to help solve this problem for free books is my web site theassayer.org,[5] which catalogs free books and accepts user-submitted reviews. The new site textbookrevolution.org[12] focuses on mirroring a smaller and more carefully vetted selection of books, and provides editorial blurbs and an opportunity for users to submit reviews. Textbookrevolution's creator Jason Turgeon writes, 'Traditional textbook publishers are insane. They're looking at the size of the US market for textbooks, which is no longer growing, trying to figure out how to keep their revenue growing and satisfy shareholders. And their solution isn't to find new markets, to reach out to developing nations, or to cut development and distribution costs by using the new technologies that are available to all of us. Instead, their solution has been to raise prices every year and to try to kill off the used book market with gimmicks and pointless new editions. But their prices are getting so high that they're actually shooting themselves in the foot --- no one outside of the developed world can afford their product at all, and fewer and fewer of those who can pay are willing to. I can feel the change in the air. Students, teachers, and parents are all fed up. Sites like mine are just the beginning. Sooner or later, something is going to click into place and the market is going to correct itself.'"

"On the reader's side, it doesn't occur to most people looking for reading material that there are over a thousand free books on the web. They might be surprised to learn that quite a few of those books are also available in print, and they probably don't know that they can find them through sites like textbookrevolution and theassayer. Some people reading this article will have bought a printed book in a store that was also free on the web, but not realized it. For example, you can go into a store and buy one of Bruce Eckel's programming books, or a science fiction book from Baen, bring it home, and finish reading the whole thing without ever knowing that it was available for free in digital form. For the authors of those books, it's a good deal --- the digital books are a form of free publicity, and the economics is like the logic of coupons and rebates: the people who have the most money to spend are the ones least likely to use them. But this under-the-radar approach keeps readers and authors from realizing what's going on around them."

9:51:08 AM    COMMENT []

© Copyright 2009 Joseph Hart.
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