Quick thought on eTextbooks...

To save some money, I bought the Kindle eBook version of the textbook for a summer class; the class itself is entirely online, making it sort of an eClass…
I’ve been running into issues though; namely that the Kindle app for PC and Mac aren’t the most user friendly. You have to click one of two buttons in the UI, or try to invoke the skiddish overlay menu, in order to switch between highlighting text (which lets you add permanent highlighting, as well as add notes), and navigating the page by clicking and dragging (which is all but required while zoomed).
There’s also the really annoying issue of the book only being licensed for use on two devices. Now, I understand how the publisher is probably guarding against the book being passed around between several students, but it is a huge inconvenience when I want to seamlessly pass between my computers and tablets. Notice how those last two nouns were both plural… that’s because I, as most students, have more than one device with which to eRead (which is in-of-itself an odd word). Don’t get me wrong, I am appreciative that they limited the license to view the textbook to two devices, and not just one; as most modern students will have a dedicated eReader (or a tablet), as well as a computer onto which they can download the Kindle eReading app.
However, I didn’t just lay down the better part of $70 for an eTextbook that I can’t read whereever and whenever I choose. The book isn’t even available on the Kindle Cloud Reader. The issue isn’t that viewing the book is being limited, I’m completely fine with the publisher protecting their assets and limiting the chances of piracy; the issue is how the limitation is implented.
A close friend said it best “You can’t read the book in two places at once.” Exactly! And how much less could I read a book in four, eight, or ten places at once? Reading the textbook should be limited by the number of concurrent viewers, not by the physical number of devices the book is downloaded. This way, it would be so inconvienient for many people to use a single copy of the eBook that it would be simpler to purchase it instead. Those trying to be dishonest and skirt the system should be the ones heavily inconvenienced and/or locked out, not the person who legitimately purchased the eBook.

Jonathan Daleyebooks