Textbooks that professors can rewrite, digitally

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, reports the New York Times. Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures, and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete individual 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. Students will be able to buy the eBooks at dynamicbooks.com, in college bookstores, and through CourseSmart, a joint venture among five textbook publishers that sells electronic textbooks…

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