Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Ebooks Really Books? From @Forbes


In one sense, ebooks are books in that they deliver a certain kind of information of a certain length and scope in one place using mostly (if not entirely) the written word. In another sense, ebooks are more like software.

Two important ways:

– Once the first copy of an ebook is produced, creating a nearly infinite amount of copies is free or very cheap and takes a few seconds; with books, creating that second copy takes some time and effort
– The thing the consumer gets when purchasing a book (a physical object with information contained in it) is not what most consumers gets when “buying” an ebook: license access to a piece of software with information in it

In both of those ways, ebooks are much more like software than what we generally think of as a book.

Semantics aside, why is this important?

“Digital books are triggering tectonic shifts in education,” writes Digital Book World blogger Beth Bacon. More school systems are buying electronic devices for their students and experimenting — if not embracing — ebooks and digital content in the learning process. For these schools with huge budgets to apply to the problem of educating their pupils, ebooks are much more like software.

When the school buys them, they don’t get a physical object that can be easily shared and reused; and, on the other hand, that needs to be stored and accounted for physically and maintained. What they do get is this new kind of thing that they need to manage (pieces of software) across another new kind of thing (hundreds or thousands of devices).

Read on here......

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