Big-time textbook publisher Macmillan is introducing new software called DynamicBooks, which will let college professors curate e-books for their own courses.
They can add paragraphs, bring in extra sources, links, and updates — without having to consult with the original author.
According to the New York Times, students will be able to purchase the books at their local university stores, as well as dynamicbooks.com and through CourseSmart, an e-textbook seller. The company is also working with Apple so students can access the books on the iPad. In August, they will offer 100 titles.
The company could be a used book killer, with some of the e-books cut to nearly a third of their print version price. Textbooks are notoriously expensive, and required reading for college students, who are always going for the cheaper prices.
So will the new program purge their print edition pricing?
What about rampant plagiarism?
Neil Comins, author of astronomy book Discovering the Universe, told the Times that he likes that the software keeps his book fresh. But! If a professor “decided to rewrite paragraphs about the origins of the universe from a religious rather than an evolutionary perspective, he said, ‘I would absolutely, positively be livid.'”
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