Readers can modify content on the web, so why not in books? In a kind of Wikipedia of textbooks, Macmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.
Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete paragraphs, equations or illustrations.
While many publishers have offered customized print textbooks for years — allowing instructors to reorder chapters or insert third-party content from other publications or their own writing — DynamicBooks gives instructors the power to alter individual sentences and paragraphs without consulting the original authors or publisher. “Basically they will go online, log on to the authoring tool, have the content right there and make whatever changes they want,” said Brian Napack, president of Macmillan. “And we don’t even look at it.”
In August, Macmillan plans to start selling 100 titles through DynamicBooks. Napack said Macmillan was considering talking to other publishers to invite them to sell their books through DynamicBooks.
Students will be able to buy the ebooks at dynamicbooks.-com, in college bookstores and through CourseSmart, a joint venture among five publishers that sells e-textbooks. The DynamicBooks editions — which can be reached online or downloaded — can be read on laptops and the iPhone from Apple. Clancy Marshall, general manager of DynamicBooks, said the company planned to negotiate agreements with Apple so the electronic books could be read on the iPad.
Source:NYT NEWS SERVICE