World Book Day at UP presents the future of publishing now

Posted on April 29, 2015

To commemorate World Book Day, the University of Pretoria’s Library Services hosted a presentation by Prof Tahir Pillay on the ground-breaking publication of South Africa’s first digital interactive science textbook. 

With UP being a research-driven institute, the Library Services’ Elsabe Olivier immediately saw this publication as a tool to assist with the publication of research. She said, “When I initially read about Prof Pillay's interactive textbook, I immediately saw the possibilities it could open up for our students and academics, who author and publish many books.”

When asked about the possible revolution in the book publishing world that he spearheaded, Prof Pillay replied that although he believes that traditional, printed books will still be around for a long time, our world has become highly mobile and instant access to information the norm. Against this background, the digital textbook with its "four-dimensional" potential will become increasingly commonplace as the world makes the transition to an increasingly paperless society.

Prof Pillay’s talk highlighted the following interactive features of the digital textbook:

  • Multiple audio and video dimensions
  • Three-dimensional interactivity
  • Access to streaming media
  • Self-paced learning

In an information-laden world where portability and convenience will be sought increasingly over the voluminous, heavy printed textbooks, the digital option has the potential to capture the market. Prof Pillay believes that “UP should invest in resources to facilitate digital publishing and delivery to enhance its position as a leader in higher education”. In so doing, UP will also modernise its teaching delivery to the student population in the era of blended learning.

Although interactive digital publishing is still a relatively new phenomenon, Prof Pillay showcased it with passion, presenting all the amazing possibilities interactive textbooks offer. His presentation offered a glimpse into the future of book publishing. We appreciate it that Prof Pillay introduced digital publishing to us and shared his thoughts on its possibilities; it is a new field which can only lead to a richer learning experience for all stakeholders.

Click here for a demo of the textbook.


Prof Pillay is Chief Specialist, Professor and Head of the Department of Chemical Pathology, and Director of the Division of Clinical Pathology (Clinical Pathology training programme) at UP, and of the National Health Laboratory Service at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

- Author Myan Subrayan

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