textbooks on ipad

In my technical writing course this fall, we’re using the iBooks version of Mike Markel’s Technical Communication (Amazon for the print version) — a book I’ve taught with before, and one that I really enjoy. I anticipate some problems with the iBooks version on the iPad, though. Of course, it’s going to be awesome to be able to click from the table of contents to a section, and to flip through, and to change the font size. However, certain design flaws will create problems: images are fairly static and don’t resize much, which means that captions, descriptions, and other text within those images will be difficult to read. Additionally, while ebooks are cool, the iBooks app doesn’t really tap into the potentials of an iPad (connectivity!).

There’s a new iPad app called Inkling that looks really cool, and i wish Markel was on there. Here’s a video:

[flashvideo file=http://d2z57atfnbxql8.cloudfront.net/corp_www/v1/_upl/video/inkling.mp4 /]

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2 Responses to textbooks on ipad

  1. Andrew says:

    I’d like to hope they would have fixed those problems. I was part of the program that piloted the online version of Markel’s books and we had problems similar to your concerns. Also, they used pretty aggressive JPEG compression on a lot of the illustrations that made them fuzzy *and* small.

    Not cool.

    Also, sometime, I’d like to hear what you like about the Markel book. I’m not a fan.

  2. Michael says:

    I’m not sure what they’ve done with the online version, Andrew. They might have fixed those problems (but probably not). The problems I mentioned are specific to the iPad (from my experience).

    I like Markel because I think it’s the textbook that incorporates ethics the best. It’s not an afterthought, but something that gets a whole chapter and comes up throughout the book. I also like its layout (in the print version, at least).

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