Some eBook Thoughts…

You’ve been critical of textbooks in the past.  Why did you write one?

I’ve been critical of paper textbooks in the digital age, particularly for “timely” topics.  I’ll never forget attending a session in December entitled “hot topics” at a technology conference, only to hear the speaker say, “I presented this session last June and thought I would present it again…”  By December, the issues had changed.  It was a wasted session.  Some topics…technology and medicine as two examples…are subject to too much change and advancements to be captured in print.

Is your eBook simply a repackaging of this blog?

You can search this blog and find material that is in the book.  There was no “copy and paste” from the blog, however.  It was all freshly-composed and acts as a self-contained resource on the topic of technology in music education, in terms of the technology available in 2011.  It took a great deal of time to create all the links in the book, which all work on the iPad, which is a huge benefit of the ePub format.

Why did you write the eBook?

We need resources that explain how to use technology in practical ways.  Most teachers don’t need a step-by-step instruction manual; they need broad examples which will inspire them to develop strategies that will work in their own teaching.

I am currently seeing a large number of teachers bring iPads into the classroom, sometimes provided out of pocket, sometimes provided by themselves. These teachers seek my advice regarding all things iPad, and I know of other teachers who aren’t using iPads in any instructional fashion (it’s for e-mail and calendar).  I want to expand the pedagogical impact of the iPad in our schools.

Why so much focus on the iPad?

I’ve never seen a device with so much potential to change education–music or otherwise.  It has changed my life as a teacher, and it can change yours, too.  Is it perfect?  Nearly.  Will it get better?  Undoubtedly.  Can I use it in education?  Absolutely.

Many iPad approaches are applicable to other technology platforms.  The iPad chapter includes a list of forty ways the iPad can be used by a teacher in education, and many of those forty uses could be achieved with another platform.

I do address other technologies in the book, including “general technology” and interactive white boards.  I also included a small chapter about the philosophy of technology integration.

Why are you selling your book in three book formats?

ePub is iPad-friendly, and any link in the book works correctly.  ePubs also work on the Barnes and Noble Nook.  The Mobi format can be opened in Kindle eReaders.  And the PDF is for anyone that doesn’t have access to an iPad, Nook, Kindle, or other eReader.

Are there mistakes in the book?

Yes, but I expect they are minor spelling (auto-correct issues) or grammatical errors.  I’ve edited the book many times, and there’s always a problem somewhere.  If you buy the book and find an error that should be corrected, please feel free to send an e-mail and I’ll make sure it is corrected.  An update to the book (still first edition, call it 1.5) is planned after the release of iOS 5 that will be distributed free to anyone who purchased the book.

What if I have a question about something in the book?

Send me an e-mail with the question, and I’ll try to answer it.  One of the plans for the second edition is to list questions from readers and to answer those questions (Names will be modified to hide identities).

Will you make another version of the book?

I will actually be updating the book after the release of iOS 5 (which will occur in late September or October).  That update may not occur until Christmas break, as I also want time to use iOS 5 in the classroom so I can write from a position of experience.  The update will be distributed free of charge to everyone who has bought the book (as long as their e-mail does not change after they purchase the book).  I foresee this as a “minor” update to the book to reflect the new operating system.

If the book has any traction, I will write a second edition in the summer of 2012.  The second edition will not be a free upgrade.

Why are you charging for the book?

The blog remains free without any advertising (although WordPress does include ads as they host the site for free, and those ads mainly appear on the mobile version of the site).  The book represents an entirely different approach–a unified resource that has taken a significant amount of time to compile.

How much do you make on the book?

I have no problem sharing this information, particularly if you are interested in creating your own book.

Ultimately, it all depends on how many sales there are.  With PayLoadz (the selling host), if there are less than $50 of sales in a month, the only fees are PayPal fees, resulting in $3.57 per book.  When sales through PayLoadz exceeds $50 a month, there is a $14.95 a month charge plus an additional fee of $0.69 per book.  This is the best plan I could find for a hosted service.  Selling on Amazon or iTunes actually costs more per book.

Basically, I don’t count on retiring on the sale of this eBook.

Why $3.99?  $4.99 seemed to be too much, and $2.99 seemed to be too little.  I bought a 40 page eBook for $2.99 this summer, so $3.99 seemed fair.

Also, the start-up costs were $19.99 (plus tax) for Pages for the Mac (allows you to export as an ePub) and $35.00 for copyright registration.  I’ll be tracking expenses and income throughout the year (for tax purposes) and I’ll be happy to share those numbers later.

Are you worried about the illegal distribution or copyright infringement of your book?

Truthfully, just a little bit.  I would hope that the cost of the book $3.99 as well as the choices in format would cause most people interested in the book to simply purchase the book instead of illegally obtaining the book.  I copyrighted the material so that I have some protection.  The biggest risk is someone copying and pasting most of a chapter on the Internet, which I hope doesn’t happen.

Can we hire you to present for our teachers/convention/etc?

I’m a high school choir director, so my availability during the week is limited.   With special planning, arrangements could be made.  I don’t have any set fees, but I would have to be able to cover travel, meals, lodging (if necessary), and base salary for the day.  If you need SMART Board training, I would have to defer to current SMART rates, as I am a certified trainer.

Where can we see you present sessions?

For 2011-2012, I am scheduled to present at the Iowa Music Educators Conference in November, and at the North Central American Choral Directors Association Conference in February.  I also expect to present at the TIES Convention in Minnesota in December and the Minnesota Music Educators Conference Mid-Winter Conference in February.

How do I buy the book?

Just click the “Buy” link on the right hand side of this blog!


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