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David Wees

Mathematics Teacher, Stratford Hall

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What is this "ebook" missing?

I'd have to argue that this ebook is missing some of the most important features of the interactive Web. Maybe 4 minutes isn't enough time to actually talk about this, but what I see is interactivity with static content, which in my mind is a dead concept.

Our world knowledge base is constantly changing, so at the very least our new wave of ebooks should recognize this. How is this book updated? If it is updated, how regularly is it updated? Does the book contain search results for related concepts?

Can we translate the book into our language of choice on the fly? What about changing the reading level? Will the ebook read itself to us? How accessible is it to people who are blind, or have physical mobility issues? Can we search through the book to find information we want? How is it indexed?

Most importantly, how is this book integrated with social media? How can we comment on the book, annotate it, share passages of the book with other people? If I want to share the book, like we can do easily and all the time with print text, do I need to share my entire iPad? How do we tag content? How do we set multiple bookmarks, so we can go back and reread our favourite sections? Can I read the same book on my laptop? Is it possible to make edits to the book when I see errors or omissions, or just want to play with the text?

In today's digital age, we should be very suspicious of any ebook which doesn't offer all of the features listed above.

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  • Apr 29 2011: I agree with most of what you said, but some of it has been a standard part of ebooks for years. Individual commenting, bookmarking, uniformity of format for laptops and mobile/tablet.

    I'd also like to see hyperlinking, being able to view references in the moment (including other books), and mapping tools to branch together various ideas.

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