The future of textbooks is videos, summaries and handy guides

I recently read about free textbooks online at www.open.bccampuus.ca. As an author of a law textbook I got a bit worried. But here is my thinking about the future of my genre (non-fiction, informational and textbooks). You can find almost any information online now. Even more information will be available in the future. The “best” information will be that that is 1. tailored specifically for a narrow market that 2. meets an actual and immediate need. In my case, law students need my textbook (Legal Problem Solving, Legal Research, Reasoning and Writing, Lexis/Nexis 2013) for a first year law class.  So they still have to buy it. But eventually someone (perhaps a law student) will create summaries or videos and checklists that might make the book less relevant. Maybe not for now, but I think publishers should be making these easy-to-use products. They could even make money from them. As an example, Lexis/Nexis agreed to publish my new booklet “The Ultimate Guide to Canadian Legal Research” (co-author Susan Barker) that is free with my textbook book. A plug: Of course legal publishers can call me if they need my help writing them (smile).

 

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