• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


Electronic Interactive Textbooks

Page history last edited by Morgan Twiggs 7 years, 3 months ago Saved with comment




An eBook is an electronic book, one you read digitally on your computer, laptop screen, or on devices made for ebooks--ebook readers. You will find ebooks in various formats and until the industry has a standard format accessible in all devices these various formats will exist (Aldridge, 2011). Currently, electronic textbook growth is being fueled by their cost advantages.  E-textbooks don’t have the overhead that printed books have, as the price of a printed textbook can often run into the hundreds.  In an article titled “More students are using the digital format…and are harder to satisfy” indicated that students are warming up to the idea as their preferences for print dropped from 72% in November 2011 to 60% in late 2012 per Bowker Market Research (Vassallo). Though these numbers can be looked at from different from a different point of view.  Another article titled: “Don’t Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay” sited this same study and wrote “Bowker Market Research revealed that just 16% of Americans have actually purchased and e-book and that a whopping 59% say they have ‘no interest’ in buying one” (Nicholas Carr).  So, what is the future of e-books and more specifically e-textbooks.  Below is a short video on the trend towards this media at the college level.



Part of the issue is the reluctance of the publishers to offer their textbooks electronically because of a reduced profit incentive.  Indiana University (IU) launched a program in 2011 and as of October 2012, 8000 of its students are using e-text material. (Osborne).  The university signed content agreements with some of its publishers and professors assign e-textbooks that are accessed through IU’s Learning Management System.  Much of this material is interactive. Students can then logon and access these electronic materials.  The university then charges the students access fees through the bursar’s office.  The publishers are guaranteed payment.  IU recommended six practices that helped make it work:


1.     Make the program a choice for faculty

2.     Choose a single, versatile e-reader platform (IU chose Courseload, a platform that let’s students access e-text with the device of their choice)

3.     Make it accessible (i.e. students with disabilities)

4.     Include the library and open content

5.     Think digital plus print (students were given a choice)

6.     Support the faculty (offer workshops to faculty)


But not all students at IU are happy using e-textbooks.  The video below addresses this issue.



In other universities, professors occasionally give students a choice if an electronic textbook is available.  If there is a large enough price difference, some students will elect to go digital, even though they won’t be able to sell the book back at the end of the quarter or semester.  But, will the only thing driving further acceptances of electronic textbooks be their price differential? Or, is there something else that will drive their growth?  In many ways, most of the electronic textbooks currently being used are not much different than their printed counterparts.  The text and graphics in e-textbooks are just replicated into an electronic medium from the printed book and look like PDF files.  But if the author and publisher design the textbook specifically for electronic media and use all this technology has to offer, what will be the result?


When a textbook is developed specifically for electronic media, the author can use a robust interactive toolset of multimedia such as videos and digital images.  In fact the e-textbook can take on a much larger roll in the learning process as students can often teach themselves with the interactive material.  One of the problems becomes: how do you compel all the students to use a tablet?  Can you require the purchase by the student?  Below is a interesting video on Duke University creating an inactive, open-source textbook for marine science.



At the K12 level, school administrators are taking a hard look at replacing the printed textbook.  With many of their budgets being slashed, they are looking at cost saving alternatives.  Arizona’s Vail school district not only rid themselves of many of their printed textbooks and they didn’t substitute electronic textbooks.  Instead, they created the electronic content themselves and constructed an electronic library of interactive material from across the Internet which they later shared the material with other school districts. (Davis) Though the article didn’t specify, the school district would have needed to supply hardware for students to read the material in school and then deal with the issue of students needing the ability to read the material at home.  



Florida has passed legislation that requires school districts to spend have their one half their budget for educational material in digital format by the year 2016. (Davis).  Other states are following suit.  The big publishers are scrambling to continue being the supplier of educational material no matter what the format.  They are buying software companies that specialize in this area.  For instance Pearson purchased SchoolNet, a developer of personalized education software.  The material that they’re developing is not just glorified PDF’s but the material includes such as “embedded assessments, video-gaming strategies, interactivity, and student-collaboration tools built in” (Davis).  Below is an interesting interview outlining the advantages of moving into e-textbooks at the K12 level.



What is the future of the interactive e-textbook?  Most of the research indicates that the days of the printed textbook are numbered. Though cost is what appears to be driving this change now, a richer interactive content will be the dominant driver as the learning environment is enhanced.







Aldridge, L. (2011, March 21). What is an ebook. Retrieved from http://www.atlanticbridge.net/publishing/otherresources/whatis.htm


Carr, N. (2013, January 5). Don't Burn Your Book - Print is here to stay. The Wall Street Journal, p. C2. Retrieved April 26, 2013, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323874204578219563353697002.html


Davis, M. R. (2013, February 6). 'Big Three' Publishers Rethink K-12 Strategies.Education Week Digital Directions. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.edweek.org/dd/articles/2013/02/06/02textbooks.h06.html


Osborne, N. (2012, October 8). The Best of Both Worlds: Indiana University Pioneers E-Textbook Model. EdTech Magazine. Retrieved April 25, 2013, from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2012/10/best-both-worlds-indiana-university-pioneers-e-textbook-model


Vassallo, N. (2013, January 25). More Students are using the Digital Format - and are harder to satisfy. BISG Press Release. Retrieved April 27, 2013, from http://www.bisg.org/news-5-815-press-releasestudent-response-to-digital-textbooks-climbs-says-new-bisg-study.php


Image of ipad in front of printed books



Image of a K12 student reading an ipad




Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.