UF’s top research has been compiled into easy-to-read nonfiction books.
The digital books, called Gatorbytes, will feature UF’s best research for people curious about science, technology and other research topics.
This is not the first time a university has produced research-based books, but Gatorbytes differs because it’s authored by journalists, said Meredith Morris-Babb, director of the University Press of Florida.
“It’s for the intellectually curious,” she said.
The first three books are about tomatoes, viruses and voting. The lengths of the digital books range from 25 to 150 pages, and the prices range from $2.99 to $6.99. But, until Wednesday, the first three books will be available as PDF downloads for free.
Babb said the books are assigned one of three levels ranging from basic to advanced depending on word count. A basic level book, like the first three published, will have about 6,000 to 7,000 words, and a medium level book will have about 12,000 to 15,000 words.
The next books will be longer and released sometime next year, she said. They will be about hurricanes, diabetes and online education.
She said each topic was chosen based on it’s value in preeminence research and will also highlight UF’s partnership with other universities and show how multiple colleges collaborate during research projects.
“It’s letting people know that Florida isn’t your typical SEC university,” she said.
About half a dozen journalists will be working on the books, UF spokesman Steve Orlando said.
He said UF decided to make ebooks because the audience UF is trying to reach is more likely to read books digitally than in print. However, he said a limited number of physical books will be printed.
Journalists were hired to write the books because they bring a different, easy-to-read writing style, Orlando said.
“Journalists have a unique ability to take complex material and break it down into layman’s language,” he said, “and make it a compelling story at the same time.”
The three books can be downloaded for free at aa.ufl.edu/gatorbytes.
[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 4/21/2015]