The initial response to CourseSmart’s “eTextbooks for the iPhone” app has been amazing. Many thanks to everyone that downloaded and reviewed the app in the App Store.
We are using the App Store reviews to prioritize enhancement for app updates. While several of these suggestions are already in the works, we need more reviews to make this the best iPhone app possible.
In addition to suggestions, the reviews included several questions and concerns about our commitment to preserving “true digital equivalency”:
- Why didn’t CourseSmart use reflowable text like other eReaders and news applications?
- Why is “true digital equivalency” so important?
Commitment to True Digital Equivalency
We want the CourseSmart eTextbook experience to be just like the regular book, but with the added benefits of the digital format.
Why? Students and instructors demand it.
Students don’t need a biology textbook for the BIO 101 class. Students need THE textbook required by his or her instructor.
Students and instructors want to make sure an eTextbook is exactly the same as printed versions. The table of contents, page numbers and figure numbers must match. When these are not the same (which happens with reflowable text and pdf eTextbooks), it is impossible to follow along in class or during study groups.
Illustrations are another reason to choose digital equivalency over reflowable text. Charts, graphs, tables, drawing, and other graphics are critical to comprehension and mastery of new concepts.
CourseSmart uses image files to display true digital equivalents of the textbook pages. As you will learn, this has a big impact on the “eTextbooks for the iPhone” application.