Thursday, August 07, 2008

Illegally Download your textbooks?

I came upon this technology news link this afternoon that pointed me to a new website that allows you to download textbooks using bittorrent.   I also saw an article in the New York Times about this several weeks ago.

Clearly this is a violation of copyright law, but it is interesting in several ways:

1. Textbooks are becoming increasingly available electronically.

2. Once books become digital, they will be traded legally or illegally like music.

 There may be even more incentive to illegally download your textbook, since it is quite a bit more expensive than an album.  The slogan of Textbook Torrents is "Because you can't torrent beer."   Will this reshape the textbook market like it has the music market?

If textbooks more toward an open-source model, everyone might be better off.  I suggested before that we needed something like the PLoS model for textbook production--this might push things in that direction. . .

4 comments:

Eric Frank said...

Hi - check out www.flatworldknowledge.com We are a new venture doing exactly what you suggest - building a new publishing and business model around openly licensed textbooks. The co-founders (I am one) came from careers at Prentice Hall and McGraw Hill, and we're joined by David Wiley, one of the leaders in the movement for open education. T

Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking this could be one of those things where "You get what you pay for" is the appropriate mantra ...

Polly Briley said...

Great idea unless you are the author.

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