Saturday, March 31, 2012

Textbook Writing - Online Publishing Versus Print Publishing

Write a Textbook on Knol and You Can Earn the Rewards of Print Book
Writing a textbook on Knol can be rewarding and it can be competitive in comparison to traditional publishing if one considers the increase in chance of success with an online book
Faculty members and other potential authors have the option of publishing a text written by them through an online option or through a print option. What are the opportunities and challenges in either option.


Convenience and Collaboration

An online wiki-based publishing platform like Knol provides convenience. An author can publish his scheme of the book and start posting section by section of his chapters. Readers can give suggestions on the books scheme as well as each section posted and author can incorporate those suggestions appropriately. Author can post links of the online references and offline references he is planning to utilize to develop his book and readers can suggest some more references both online as well as offline. Some of the readers may offer to coauthor a section and the author can accept such offers. These features provide a convenience that print publishing cannot offer.


Multi-Media Features

A publishing platform like Knol provides capability of offer multimedia features in the online book published on Knol. Youtube videos, power point presentations, Excel worksheets and links to various web pages can be embedded in the various pages of the book as required.

Web 2.0 features like comments can be used for getting  continuous feedback from readers.


India specific example.
An average textbook may sell 1000 copies in year. There were examples where it had taken 10 years for a book to get 1000 copies sold. Recently, the intake of students has increased substantially for engineering and business courses. Still selling 1000 copies is a big achievement to start with.
If the book is priced at Rs. 300, the author may get Rs 30,000 per year.
A book can be published as 300 pages on Knol. If the book is read by 1000 people and each of them reads every page, in year 300,000 page views can be registered. These page views may give up to Rs, 15,000 per year.
But, the chance of succeeding in online publishing may be high, because, the output of an author is accessible to a bigger audience for books written in languages that are used in many countries.
An interesting point is made in a survey by ALCS (Authors Licensing and Collecting Society) made for the year 2004-05 and published in 2007. Teachers and other academicians made an average income of 5,502 pound and median income of 1,604 pounds per year. (The link to the survey in available in ). Writing and publishing a book may result in increase of reputation but will not result in big money for many of the authors.  In all these surveys, many times only reasonably successful persons send the filled questionairres. So the downside or negative side is likely to be much bigger.
A physics hypertext follows the model of a page for every section of a chapter.
I started an online textbook on Industrial Engineering on Knol as a concrete example of the idea that I am advocating. Introduction to Industrial Engineering - Online Textbook on Knol. It will take two years or more to complete the book if I can focus on it. It will take more time if I can't devote time to it. But it will be good project to launch and work on. I can keep adding content during the quarters that I teach the subject.

Basic accounting concepts  is an implementation of the idea. 80 knols are there presently in this collection of Knols.

Related Pages

Research on the Textbook Publishing Industry in the United
States of America, 2007
Where the new textbook dollar goes?
Is it worth writing a technical book? 2007
Income of book writers - blog post
Incomes of magazine and newspaper writers
The remuneration received by a favored few
Income from Royalty - Incentives to authors in India - 2003 - Section 80QQB
A survey in 2007 found that average income of authors in UK was 16,531 pounds and 10% of the authors received it. Remaining 50% of the money was shared by 90% of the writers. Bottom 50% got 10% of the amount.
How Authors Really Make Money
Open Access Scholarly Publishing - Encourage
The Global Text Project

How to write, produce and market an E-Book - 27th October 2010
Original Knol - 3178
Good comments are there on the knol. To post from downloaded file later.

1 comment:

  1. Comments on Knol

    1. Open Courseware - Big Opportunity for India

    2. Textbook Publishing - A Big Note

    3. Text and Academic Authors Association, USA

    4. Textbook Writing: Take the Plunge!
    Journal article by V. Gregory Payne, David L. Gallahue; JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, Vol. 65, 1994;jsessionid=E65BB4A18317865FA6EA5D38958E9E18.inst2_2a?docId=5002206817

    5. Market for textbook is $3.6 billion

    Textbook prices are increasing at the rate of 6% per year whereas inflation is only 3% per year.

    A 2008 article.