Seth Godin Goes After Textbook Industry (and Profs)

We have covered a lot of startups (& startups) and technologies going into the textbook market — the cost of books have been a pain for students and families for decades. Seth Godin, ‘marketing genius,’ has decided to enter the fray with his posting Textbook Rant. Godin claims professors who assign textbooks are practicing academic malpractice — he may be right! His piece covers old ground but it is concise and worth a read. Importantly, he offers advice for professors on spending their time “devising pages or chapterettes or even entire chapters on topics that matter to them, then publishing them for free online,”

Here is a snippet:

They are incredibly impractical. Not just in terms of the lessons taught, but in terms of being a reference book for years down the road.

In a world of wikipedia, where every definition is a click away, it’s foolish to give me definitions to memorize. Where is the context? When I want to teach someone marketing (and I do, all the time) I never present the information in the way a textbook does. I’ve never seen a single blog post that says, “wait until I explain what I learned from a textbook!”

Any thoughts? Especially those of you who are Professors?


2 thoughts on “Seth Godin Goes After Textbook Industry (and Profs)

  1. RyanZ

    With California going digital for k-12 textbooks and leading universities putting up their class material and lectures online, I think the end of boring ole textbooks is coming close. And not soon enough!

    If I am a teacher, why would I want to have my students read a book, write up something on what they learned and have them hand it in, thus making me read through dozens of papers (or at least my TA will read them). Instead, my students can read the chapters online, explore subjects much more in-depth with links to wikipedia and other sources and then answer an online quiz that automatically scores their responses and provides instant feedback?

    Not only that, but costs could then be driven sharply down as the printing and distribution costs are eliminated. This is already happening in countries like South Korea. Its about time we caught up!

  2. Pingback: More Disruptions in the Textbook Market « Campus Entrepreneurship

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