Books in Progress               at work icon

Ivan Marsic

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Rutgers University

Chapter 1
     Introduction   (of another book...)

Volume 2
     Software Engineering
        Last updated: September 10, 2012.

Volume 3
     Computer Networks: Performance and Quality of Service    
        Last updated: June 11, 2013.

Volume 4
     Wireless Networks
        Last updated: January 7, 2005.

Volume 5
     User Interfaces

About the Future of Publishing

Open Access Publishing;   From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Open, Closed, or Clopen Access? (Editor’s letter), by Moshe Y. Vardi
Communications of the ACM, Vol. 52, No. 7, Page 5, July 2009.   (DOI:   10.1145/1538788.1538789)
“Why don’t you adopt the open-access publishing?”   |

The future of books: Not bound by anything
The Economist, March 24-30, 2007.
Textbooks: Random access is possible, since it is possible to accomplish a specific task in a limited amount of time. So, textbooks will best be read online, as pieces (short “bites”) assembled from multiple sources (like Safari Books Online)
Versus Stories: We prefer avoiding distractions (hyperlinks!)—no random access is suitable.

Kno: Software is eating education
By Chris Jablonski at | November 15, 2011
In this interview, Co-founder and CEO Osman Rashid explains where his eTextbook software is today, where it is headed, and how technology and the private sector will reform education. Here is an off-the-mark prediction by Mr. Rashid: “By 2025, we can expect the world to be completely digital. Paper books will be a thing of the past.

• Book:   Free: The Future of a Radical Price, by Chris Anderson, Hyperion, 2009.
Bogus free offer of the full book at   |   or for sale at   (one cannot but wonder why is Free not for free?!)
… But, see also a must-read review   Priced to Sell: Is free the future?, by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker, pages 80-84, July 6, 2009.
— Malcolm Gladwell reviews Free by Chris Anderson
Chris Anderson’s Free Contains Apparent Plagiarism, by Waldo Jaquith, June 23rd, 2009.
Virginia Quarterly Review’s Waldo Jaquith has uncovered several instances of apparent plagiarism within Chris Anderson’s forthcoming book, Free. …
Chris Anderson, Plagiarist?, by Edward Champion, June 23, 2009.
“…unfortunately, I have learned that the VQR’s investigations only begin to scratch the surface. A cursory plunge into the book’s contents reveals that Anderson has not only cribbed material from Wikipedia and websites (sometimes without accreditation), but that he has a troubling habit of mentioning a book or an author and using this as an excuse to reproduce the content with very few changes—in some cases, nearly verbatim.”
See also more here.
Listen to Free This Book, at—The Brian Lehrer Show, August 14, 2009. Chris Anderson, author of FREE: The Future of a Radical Price, talks about how the value of information and services is not always best tied to price.
Also of interest:   What Chris Anderson’s Free Means for Fiction Writers, by Aaron Ross Powell.
and Trent Reznor Backs Chris Anderson’s Theory of ‘Free’, By Eliot Van Buskirk, Wired, July 10, 2009.

• I’m glad to see that there are counterviews to Free, as well:   Barry Diller's Brash New Strategy: The former e-commerce impresario is placing a contrarian wager on sponsored Web content
“The era of a free Internet was created by technology people who wouldn’t know content if they tripped over it,” Barry Diller says. “They had no idea how to monetize what people were watching.”

Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World
By Clive Thompson, Wired, June 2009, page 50.

Open Source Textbook Company Expands To 400 Colleges
Open Source Textbook Company Now BMOC at 400 Colleges
By John C Abell, Wired, August 20, 2009
The Wired (8/20, Abell) Epicenter blog reported, “Flat World Knowledge stayed busy on campus” over the summer “and now has 40 times as many students and more than 10 times the colleges using their freemium, open-source digital textbooks as they did spring semester.” The company was “set to announce Thursday that more than 40,000 college students at 400 colleges will use their digital, DRM-free textbooks fall semester, up from 1,000 in 30 colleges in the spring.” The company is using “a pricing scheme that starts at zero for online access using a browser, and $20 for a PDF, which they believe will be the most popular format. Printed versions of their textbooks cost up to $60.” And, “perhaps best of all: Textbooks are available a la carte, chapter by chapter.”

Open Source Textbooks Challenge a Paradigm
By Chris Snyder, Wired, September 1, 2008
A small, digital book startup, Flat World Knowledge, thinks it has a solution to the age-old student lament: overpriced textbooks that have little value when the course is over. The answer? Make them open source—and give them away.

Blog: Who reads books anymore?   (Thursday, May 03, 2007; Posted by Todd Leopold, entertainment producer)

Are Book Reviewers Out of Print?, by Motoko Rich, The New York Times, May 2, 2007
A piece about newspapers cutting back on book coverage.

Virginia Teachers Create Real-Time Updates For Physics Textbooks
Stuck-in-the-Past Va. Physics Texts Getting Online Jolt, By Michael Alison Chandler, The Washington Post, November 30, 2008; Page C01
On the front page of its Metro section, the Washington Post (12/1, C1, Chandler) reports that in an effort to modernize state physics education, Virginia’s “state secretaries of education and technology asked a dozen teachers to write their own chapters in biophysics, nanotechnology, and other emerging fields and post them online.” Secretary of Technology Aneesh P. Chopra said that “by February, physics teachers from Vienna to Tappahanock should be able to rip, mash and burn new chapters in real-time physics.” According to many educators, the need for changes to the way textbooks are updated “is galactic” because “textbooks are often breathtakingly expensive, overly general, unchallenging, or outdated as soon as they appear. Real-time updates can speed discoveries into science or engineering classes. They also can fold recent tide-turning events into history or government classes.” In addition, “the format could … make it easier for teachers to add new perspectives and customize lessons, depending on the students’ cultural backgrounds or interests.”

Colleges Increasingly Opt For Digital Textbooks Over Paper Versions.
Digital texts could turn page on print costs, By Karen Goldberg Goff, September 2, 2009.
The Washington Times (9/2, Goff) reports that the “shift from paper to digital textbooks is gathering speed in the face of pressure from families and cash-strapped school systems, both of which are struggling with the cost of traditional textbooks in a down economy.” According to the Times, booksellers “say they see a palpable backlash against the cost of paper books,” which “cost the average college student about $1,000 a year.” The Times notes that digital textbooks “are one of many options in an increasingly high-tech learning environment,” as hundreds of college lectures “are available for download on iTunes, and this year, students at University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business will participate in a pilot program with”

CourseSmart Makes Textbooks Available For iPhone Download.
College textbooks available as iPhone download, By Andrew S. Ross; The San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The San Francisco Chronicle (8/11, Ross) reports that “San Mateo’s CourseSmart LLC … has just made all 7,066 of its ‘eTextbooks,’ covering 935 college and university courses across 113 discipline areas, available for download on your iPhone or iTouch.” The service will “cost the same as if you were downloading to your laptop or to the increasingly popular netbook,” but is “about 50 percent less than what you’d pay at the college bookstore, the company claims. It’s also a rental to be ‘returned’ when the course in question no longer requires it.” The Chronicle notes that CourseSmart “is a joint venture of five major college text publishers, including McGraw Hill Education, Pearson Education and Cencage Learning.”

• TechRepublic Blog: Amazon plans big screen Kindle: Textbook margins are the real aim not saving newspapers
Amazon will reportedly unveil a new large-screen Kindle Wednesday. The company just scheduled a press conference for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. in New York City at Pace University. Get the subtle hint? Despite that subtle hint—holding a press conference at a university (textbooks people!)—a lot of folks are missing the big picture of these large screen Kindles …
See also:   College Textbooks Delivered On Kindle: Will Corporate Learning & Development Be Next?

Kindle-like E-paper set for rapid growth—Electronic ink and e-paper predictions
Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader has caught on with early adopters the way Apple’s iPod did, says a new report on the future development and commercialization of low-power “electronic ink.”
Says study author James Belcher: “Consumers have read books printed on paper for hundreds of years, without having to endure the multiple format changes seen in recorded music. Getting the bulk of consumers to change that behaviour will require an experience superior to that of the printed page.”
Belcher suggests there also are cultural and behavioral changes to consider:
* Do readers want a device dedicated solely to reading, or would they prefer one with multiple functions?
* How will netbooks and mobile phones capable of displaying digital texts affect the market for dedicated readers?
* Is reading on printed paper a preference or a habit?
* Will e-reader makers have to contend with a generation gap, with full market penetration dependent upon younger readers with no affinity for traditional paper?

Spotify v illegal downloads: Free but legal
The Economist, page 57, August 1st 2009.
Advertising-supported music will not save a troubled industry. But it helps. … As Paul Brown of Spotify puts it, the health of music depends on moving from one source of revenue—CDs—to perhaps a dozen.


Back to Ivan Marsic’s home page

This page last modified: Thu Aug 13 11:05:59 EDT 2009