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 Buy the latest edition, because last semester’s textbook is pitifully outdated.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?