WordPress eTextbooks

There’s been radio silence the past couple weeks because I’ve been spending my free time writing this WordPress-based eTextbook on Quantitative Literacy.

There’s lots to be said about this, I suppose, but one of the things worth mentioning is what a pleasure it has been to author in this way. I’d love to tweak the template, maybe put in a “readability” style view, maybe an export to epub or PDF function. But having put it together this way, I’m not really sure what an eTextbook is anymore.

Meaning, if we want focussed exposition we have ePub and PDF formats — as well as the dead tree format, which frankly has a lot going for it too. On the other hand, if we want interactivity, we have the web, along with tech like WordPress.

There’s a space in-between those two, but that space feels to me like the space that was occupied by CD-ROM multimedia in the late 90s. And we know how that turned out — when people were in interactive mode, they really preferred the web. The late 90s saw some of the most beautifully designed multimedia education products we will ever see (Does anyone remember the Corbis stuff?) — but ultimately the web won out.

Why do we think it will be different this time, exactly?

I’m seriously asking. Is there a reason I am missing?

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