September 30, 2008
Future of the Law School Coursebook wrapup
My own takeaways:
- We need to distinguish strongly between electronic distribution of textbooks and new methods of creating/authoring them.
- We need a new word other than "book" (or coursebook or casebook or textbook) to describe the resources that today's law teacher requires -- from audiovisual examples to simulations to traditional texts.
- Whatever new systems emerge, they must feature some combination of generativity or interoperability to ensure flexibility, innovation, and cost-effectiveness.
- Traditional legal publishers are making good-faith efforts to keep up with needs, but they cannot lead -- it is up to the legal academy to figure out what we want. Furthermore, some of them may be hamstrung due to shareholder demands for profit, legal/copyright caution, or lack of the right personnel to drive change. They may be able to overcome these barriers, or they may not. Either way, law schools must lead.
- Keep an eye on technology companies entering the market from unexpected directions -- whether Amazon, Google, or some hot startup we've never heard of. The legal textbook market is not a very big one, but it might be ripe, low-hanging fruit for some of these players.
- Gene Koo
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