The e-Book Revolution, Coming To Your School Soon

Posted on January 25, 2012 
Filed Under Fathering, Parenting, Physical Health

It arrived without the fanfare of a new phone or tablet, but last week’s introduction to the world of digital textbooks signals Apple’s “next big thing.” As the company continues to explore new ways of delivering content, and to expand its revenue sources, I think they’ve tapped into a HUGE market.

Any college student will tell you that bookstore visits are usually dreaded. It isn’t that the staff are unfriendly, or that the atmosphere isn’t nice enough. Its the drain on the wallet – or pocketbook – that is so painful. Buy the latest edition, because last semester’s textbook is pitifully outdated. Get the right edition, because the prof isn’t going to accommodate a slacker who can’t get the required book. And watch the latest become…a big old paperweight, rather useless after the semester is over. I am ashamed to say that I actually thought I’d refer to some of my most valued college texts…and that a few remain crammed into a box in the attic…even though it has been a long, long time since those courses.

Obviously the textbook system is antiquated and in need of overhaul. And our friends at Apple are looking out for us. According to some quick research, Apple sold 350,000 textbooks in the three days after unveiling their availability on iBookstore.

While the market is only for college books at the present, you can see where this is headed. K-12 educators and parents need to be ready for the day, coming all too soon, when all students use a tablet device for all their books. I recall a conversation less than a year ago with my daughter, a high school student who carries about 100 pounds of books to and from school everyday (oh, alright, maybe it was 40 or 50 pounds…but still).I shared my concern about the burden – literally – of carrying that much weight. Too many books! There is hope, I told her, of a brighter future.

“Saige,” I said, “Before you finish college you’ll be getting all your textbooks electronically. You’ll have ‘em all on an iPad. It’ll save you money – and it’ll save your back!”

Looks like I was a little long on the projection. Seems she’ll see that textbook revolution happen before she finishes high school. And for that, I am grateful.

However, I’m wondering about the downside of having so much loaded onto a computer or tablet. Don’t our kids spend too much time already in front of those glowing screens? Do I really want my child to turn on their “books?” I guess it is inevitable, and I’ll look at the bright side of this development.

How about you? Has your child worn out the backpack from overloading, or suffered back problems from carrying around too many school books?



3 Responses to “The e-Book Revolution, Coming To Your School Soon”

  1. Keith on January 25th, 2012 2:38 pm

    Ebooks may be new to most people, but blind, visually impaired, and those with reading disabilities have been using them for years. If one thing facilitates the move to popularizing ebooks in the classroom, it will be because blind students have already built the demand for printers to create electronic, accessible books.

    It will be an awsome thing to level the playing field and have blind and sighted students reading from the same book. With the only difference being the blind student will be reading from a braille display, or having the text read aloud (through earphones) as the rest of the class.

  2. David on January 30th, 2012 8:50 pm

    My kids go to a small Christian school. Their principal has estimated that in a couple of years they will be able to save enough on textbooks to purchase iPads for all the students. This can be a real help for small schools that may not have the same access to multimedia as their larger cousins. Add to this the ability to have their notes, Bibles, voice recorder, musical tuner, etc. immediately at hand, and you have quite a powerful tool.

    While there is potential danger in new tech, I would have a hard time imagining this being anything but helpful. Businesses are beginning to tap the potential for this technology, and we as Christians should not miss the opportunity that it presents. I can carry a Bible, commentaries, devotionals, prayer lists and more–all in one compact device. And don’t forget all the music as well.


  3. Tony May on February 7th, 2012 9:28 am

    I am a huge proponent of e-books and applaud bringing them to the college classroom. The only issue I have with using an iPad or similar device in bringing e-books to younger students (K-12) is that the device needs to be stripped down to minimize outside exposure. These devices usually come with wireless and/or wi-fi capability and I may not want my child to have that access without me around. As Focus has stressed, the child should not have a computer in the bedroom but needs to be in an open area.

    I still hope the price of the books starts to come down and have the author/publisher share the cost savings instead of taking it all to him/her/itself. I had heard of a college professor many years ago creating electronic books for his classroom and he was selling them directly for less than half of what the publisher would have charged. The professor said even with this drastic price drop he was earning more than if he went to a publisher. Definitely a win-win approach to be applauded.

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