Earlier this year, Amazon announced that e-books were outselling print books. The statistics echo those from other sources, such as the Association of American Publishers, which indicate consumers have a strong interest in digital formats.
But when it comes to textbooks, many students say they still prefer traditional, print copies. Sure, textbooks are notoriously heavy and expensive. But print still offers one thing that digital books hasn't been able to do quite right yet: Allow the reader to take detailed notes in the margins.
But a new company called Highlighter hopes to address that problem by offering a way to help publishers enable marginalia, of sorts, on their websites. Highlighter allows readers to leave comments not just at the end of blog posts but throughout. Visitors to websites can also highlight, annotate, save and share passages and comments.
While the new tool can be used by any publisher (or more broadly, by anyone with a blog or a website), the startup is focusing a lot of their efforts on encouraging adoption among academics -- both publishers and professors.
University of Colorado biology professor Michael Klymkowsky has installed Highlighter on his Biofundamentals course website, for example. By doing so, students are able to engage fully with all the materials -- the syllabus as well as the readings. They can leave comments, ask questions, and save and share key passages.