Well, some schools are talking about switching to Kindles, or perhaps to open source online textbooks, instead of ordinary "dead tree" textbooks. I'm no Luddite, but there are a few problems with this idea--at least at the K-12 level.
I've already pointed out one of the problems, above. How about these:
- I couldn't charge my Kindle last night because the power was out.
- Jam it a little too hard into the backpack or locker, and...
- I couldn't do my homework because I left my Kindle in my mom's car and I'm at dad's house this week.
- The lower the SES of the student, the more transient is the student. You understand how that relates to Kindles.
- Every student doesn't have a computer or internet access. Issuing such equipment would be costly, and under state law we can't currently require such equipment at home.
Most of these negatives come down to this: you don't value what you don't pay for. In California, students don't pay for books, not even a deposit. The fruits of this policy are clear the first week of school every year, when students are issued, uh, "worn" textbooks.
But university students pay for their books. I can see tremendous value in university students' buying digital books for their Kindles. However, someone will always make a buck, as commenter Beggar points out in the first link above:
"I have purchased some of my college textbooks as electronic copies rather than print... as you'd guess, there was very little difference in the price between the two... Imagine that, do away with the costs of printing and distribution and yet there's not substantial savings to pass on to me.It probably won't, unfortunately. There's too much money to be made in the textbook business for publishers to just give up that easily. I love the idea of open source materials, though, especially for K-12. In fact, one Connecticut district is taking a step in that direction, with algebra.
How, exactly, is this going to save us any money?"
Oh, and at the first link? Commenter Darren65 makes some brilliant observations.