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The Rationale behind Electronic Publishing

Why Readers Will Purchase Them...
Why Authors Will Write Them

Copyright 2010 by GR.AM.P.S.
You may not distribute this page in any form; however, you may refer readers to this page.

In a mystery novel, you want to start reading on page one and continue, without interruption, to the conclusion.

In a reference work, however, your approach may be different. Suppose you use a conventional encyclopedia to look up Columbus. As you start to read, a reference note says, See also Santa Maria. So you put down the volume labeled C-Com, walk down to the S's, and look up Santa Maria. Then the text says, See also Isabella... (at which point, the faint of heart will decide that they already know enough about Columbus, will close the book, and walk away).

In an electronic reference work, however, you would double-click your mouse on the term Santa Maria, and would "jump" instantly to that reference; double click on Isabella and jump there (perhaps to her picture... or perhaps a sound-clip of an actress reading her Charge to Columbus)... Then "backtrack" to Santa Maria, click on an icon, and see a cutaway drawing of the ship's interior. Zoom in on the crews' quarters for a better look. Click another icon and see a multi-media clip of the ship under sail-- Watch as Columbus nails a doubloon to the mast and hear him yell, "This to the first sailor to sight land!"

The Personal Touch

In an electronic book, you can let the "reader" apply an "electronic highlighter"... or add "electronic sticky-notes" to personalize what s/he reads.

Add a "testing module" that presents a portion of your text (or plays a video segment from a lab session), followed by questions on that segment. Give your students instant feedback on each question... or have them e-mail in their quiz to you for grading... Or, you can have an incorrect answer jump students to the very paragraph (or segment of the video) in which they can find the correct answer.

A Medieval Tale

Somewhere in Germany... sometime around 1470... some tradesman must have dragged a printing press into his basement. Someone in his family must have asked, "What are you going to do with that heap of metal?"

Perhaps he answered, "I met this fellow named Guten. . . Gutenstein. . . Guten-b.. . something. Anyway, he thinks that people will buy these things called 'books,' printed on this new machine of his. . . with movable type . . . on ordinary paper. He thinks that one book could sell over 100 copies!!"

The family member could have answered, "Paper? Type? You're always chasing after some new-fangled idea. Why shouldn't people take their manuscripts to the monastery and let Father O'Malley copy them, onto good, sturdy parchment, the way that your grandfather did?!?"

Back to the Future...

We believe that almost any serious work will look better... work better... and be more useful to the end user (and, therefore, sell better) in electronic format. It is the future.


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