Apple's iPad and Other Tablets Make Digital Textbooks Cool on Campus
The Challenge in Grades K-12
In K-12 education, the bar for adoption of tablets and e-readers is much higher than at universities. They quandary for cash-strapped public school systems is how to provide access to e-book devices for every student, especially those who cannot afford to buy them for themselves.
"There are still a lot of challenges that have to do with figuring out how to use them, how to pay for them, " says Kathy Mickey, senior analyst of the education group at Simba Information.
Texas, Florida and California are among nearly two dozen states that have adopted initiatives to move toward digital books, but so far have they have generally opted to use supplemental digital course materials, alongside with printed books.
Publishing industry executives expect the $3.6 billion K-12 education book market will remain a hybrid market for some time.
"Unless there's already been a commitment to hardware of the some kind, we face a decision about whether to go ahead and create a digital product," says Pearson's Gary June. "Nobody can time when the saturation level will be high enough."
Print Books Won't Go Away
ACU's Bill Rankin says digital books will eventually dominate in the education market just as they have with leisure books. But, the printed word won't go away completely in the classroom.
"I think there's always going to be a place for traditional texts," he says. "People will always want the esthaetic experience of reading a hard cover book."
After this semester, ACU sophomore Prentiss Ashford is hooked on interactive digital books on the iPad. He says he carries everywhere, and its dreading having to give it back at the end of the year.
"It's going to break my heart. It's going to break my heart."