on demand textbook publishing [was Re: [FoRK] Sony's 2nd gen ebook reader site]

B.K. DeLong bkdelong
Fri Jan 6 14:45:04 PST 2006

At 05:36 PM 1/6/2006, Luis Villa wrote:
>Just as a data point, when I saw R. Preston McAfee had published his
>intro to econ textbook (352 pages) under a CC license I suggested he
>publish it at lulu.com. It was available the next day for $11.60 plus
>shipping, which he said was less than he'd been paying to get it
>printed at the local copy shop. So the economics of book publishing
>(particularly low print run textbooks) are soon going to be upended
>anyway, I think.

When I left MIT OpenCourseWare they were in the midst of working with 
MIT Press to  get the rights to publish various professors' books on 
the project site. We really struggled with the best way to format 
them due to the mathematics. Conversion to HTML lead to thousands of 
GIFs. Publishing to PDF looked good, was a little more accessible but 
you still lost the context/semantics of the mathematics.

I'd love to see OCW put these books into a more standard, flexible 
PDF format ripe for on demand printing and viewing on eink eBooks.

B.K. DeLong
bkdelong at pobox.com

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