Introduction

Rocket

CC BY Steve Jurvetson

Over the past couple of years I’ve been working on an e-book entitled The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies. While charging for the book, I’ve worked in the open as much as possible using the OpenBeta process I came up with back in 2009. In a nutshell, the earlier people buy into the process of the book, the cheaper it is for them. In return, I get feedback.

So far, and with 18 days until the June 27th launch, some 297 people have bought into the book. I’m incredibly grateful for the encouragement, ideas, and copyediting I’ve received from a good proportion of that number.

In this post, I want to outline briefly my plans for what happens at v1.0 launch and afterwards. I’m very much making it up as I go along, so feedback is welcome!

v1.0 launch

The Essential Elements of Digital LiteraciesI’m launching v1.0 of The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies on June 27th, commemorating exactly two years since the my Ed.D. graduation ceremony in Durham Cathedral. My doctoral thesis, started while a classroom teacher and completed while working in Higher Education, was entitled What is digital literacy? A Pragmatic investigation.

To accompany the launch, I’m planning:

‘Nice to have’ for launch, and definitely available at some point this year:

  • Kindle version
  • ePUB version
  • audiobook version

The tricky question of money

As I’ve said before, the main reason I decided to charge for this e-book was not actually financial. I wanted to further test the OpenBeta model but, even more importantly, asking people to buy into the book led to at least three benefits:

  1. I had an existing audience to write for
  2. I established a means of gaining valuable feedback
  3. People (perhaps) value content more when they have to pay for it

The launch price of The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies will be £7.99. Purchasers – new and existing – will get every version that’s available in DRM-free formats. That includes the audiobook when it’s available, read in my sultry northern accent(!)

After launch, I’m going to reduce the price regularly (perhaps every six months) until, on 27th July 2016, it will be free and the e-book released into the Public Domain. Doing this will make it easier to integrate the book and the wiki in a similar way to the example shown by Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks.

Finally, on money, it’s worth saying that a proportion of what I’ve made so far – and what I will make – will go to good causes as part of our family’s planned giving.

Conclusion

I’ve very much enjoyed the process of writing The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies and nurturing a small community around it. I’m very much looking forward to the reviews from people like you and finding out how people use the e-book as a resource for practical action.

If you’d like to get involved in the launch, you’re very welcome to do so. Version 0.99 of the e-book will be available until June 20th, and ways you can help with the launch are detailed on this wiki page.