Would You Buy an e-Literate Book?

I have been having a fun time lately going back through the close to 900 posts that I have written on this blog since early 2004. It has been fascinating to remember what I was thinking, where I was on the right track, and where I was on the wrong one. As a personal reflective ePortfolio, it has been more useful, enjoyable, and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined when I started it.

But I am even more amazed at the number of people who have found it worth reading. We’re up to about 3,500 non-robot page views a day. That’s just mind-boggling. It makes a little more sense to me now that I have been joined by great authors who regularly post interesting content to the site. But I am still continually astonished and gratified by the number of people who seem interested in what I have to say and who are so kind to me when I meet them at conferences and other professional gatherings.

All of which brings me to an idea that I’ve been playing with lately. I’m thinking about putting together an eBook that is a retrospective of eight years of e-Literate content. I would create just a few categories, publish the posts for each category in chronological order, and add commentary (both for each post and for each chapter) about what I have learned and what I find interesting about it looking back. These would be my posts only, although if the experiment is successful I would consider working with my featured bloggers on a sequel (assuming they are willing).

I would like to charge for the book, partly because it would be nice to have a non-icky way to defray some of the costs of maintaining e-Literate—I’m up to $99/month in web hosting fees now—but mostly as a way of learning more about how people value the work we do here. I know roughly how many people are interested in the content when it is free, but how many think it is interesting (and hopefully useful) enough to pay for it?

So here are my questions to you:

  • Without thinking too hard or paging back through the site archives, are there any e-Literate posts that are particularly memorable to you? If so, which ones are they and why did they stand out in your mind?
  • If you would consider reading such a retrospective, what would you be looking to get out of it? Why would you find it interesting?
  • Would you be willing to pay a few bucks for an annotated anthology of blog posts that are freely available online?
  • Why, in general, do you read e-Literate? what do you get out of it?

Thanks in advance for any perspective you can give me.

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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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3 Responses to Would You Buy an e-Literate Book?

  1. Laraine says:

    I think the first thing I read here was about Pearson’s Open Class, and I was stunned that I understood what it was and what the implications of it might have on the market. I was a humanities major and while I ‘m trying to get more tech savvy, I’m not the sharpest tack in the box, and I often have to look up the endless acronyms that populate technical writing. BUT I have the least trouble on this site, even with the acronyms, so I figure that must be your writing and the writing of the people who post here.

    So I would really like a retrospective of the columns. In fact, I’ve collected several of them and saved them in PDF so I can annotate them. But to have someone do it for me–the collecting, not the annotating– would be worth the money.

    What would I want to get out of such a book ? I’d like a better understanding of the current trends in technology and how they will apply to education. For instance, I’d like to know how people who know something about education and technology think things like Moocs and open education in general will fare over time? What happens when a for-profit company like Blackboard buys Moodlerooms? How do they make money off it and what do they want out of an open source provider anyway?

    I’m taking an online course at the moment and I’m flabbergasted by how old school it is, so I’d like to know what people are doing to make on line learning be something new, rather than videos of talking heads. The course I am taking is no wave of the future, that’s for sure, so what is? That’s what I’d like your book to tell me.

  2. Luke Fernandez says:

    Having not gone through the archives I can’t say whether this applies to yours but it would to many: the challenge in turning blogs into books is that our blog posts have an ephemeral and topical character to them. They are extremely interesting for a while but lose their salience and relevance as time goes by. Maybe a different approach would be to write a really long retrospective/history/post of what’s happened in the last ten years in the edu tech space, separated into themes (the perennial tensions between ivy and industry, the transformation of counter cultures into over the counter cultures aka open washing, the cyclical change to open to closed systems to open, the myths and realities of an education bubble, the ideology behind the word ‘disruption’, the meaning of freedom, the spanking of Blackboard, etc) and then link to the posts that speak to those themes. Off the top of my head, the most memorable post to me was one in which you referenced hill’s bb merger and acquisition graphic. What a great place to launch such a history as well as a place to pose the question whether we have absorbed its lessons.

  3. Dariusz Grabka says:

    With so many regular readers, perhaps a “PayPal Tip Jar” or other donation bin would help keep bandwidth expenses under control. I’d chip in a few (Canadian) dollars!

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