No more big textbooks…

According to this article from NCTE, there are some pilot programs at a couple of universities that utilize only Ebooks in their classrooms.  All of this sounds good and all, but while it may appear to be cheaper for students to buy the digital versions of their books, what happens when they want to read something on the bus?

I’m sure the good folks at Amazon would say that Kindles are a good bet.  But with a $400 pricetag, doesn’t it start to get a little too expensive to read only Ebooks?


4 thoughts on “No more big textbooks…

  1. Personally, I’d say that both the Kindle and the Sony Reader have dropped the ball and are now Last Week’s Thing; we’re going to see more and more preexisting digital devices turned into ebook readers, like iPhones and Nintendo DSs. People don’t want to have to carry around a dozen different gadgets; they want one thing that will do everything.

    So the ebook textbooks seem like a good idea to me, as here in a few years smart phones will be pretty ubiquitous, which means that you’ll be able to read your textbooks on the bus without having to buy another $400 toy.

  2. I can certainly see where an electronic textbook would be convenient with searchable text and hyperlinks and such. But without all the multi-colored post-it markers sticking out every which way, I won’t feel nearly as studious.

  3. And does it really save paper if it means several of us would just end up printing everything off anyway? I don’t think so.
    While I agree with Tom that the all-purpose electronic devices will likely be ubiquitous in a few years, that still doesn’t mean everyone can afford them. I guess that leaves the expectation that scholarship students will have to live on campus or print it all. I say this because I sincerely can not even afford an IPod right now, and they’re fairly affordable.

  4. In most cases, I think Tom is right, but the problem with smart phones is the size of the screen. Imagine an astronomy or medical text the size of an iPod. I suspect the future of text books isn’t books at all, but chapters. (When was the last time you used the entire text book for a class?) Professor kickbacks are likely to go the way newspaper advertising and required reading will be made of various (digital) chapters, articles. and other supplemental reading.

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