Reading your previous blog I was wondering if you were going to do a follow-up. This is a very timely and important topic, indeed.
"In addition to lower cost, portability, and anytime/anywhere access from any computer or Web-enabled mobile device, e-textbooks offer advanced search functionality, note-taking capabilities, digital highlighting, and the ability to email passages to peers. Students can also purchase their books one chapter at a time on some publishers' Websites, buying just what they need, just when they need it."
I believe the paragraph above summarizes pretty well the benefits of e-textbooks inclusion and adoption in education.
I love paper books very much, the feeling of touching them, the smell of the old books that carry so much story and history, in some cases. The relaxing feeling of sitting in a comfy chair sipping a cup of tea with a book. Books are becoming part of a romantic idea, though, a scene where you sense a warm feeling when you see your books on the bookshelf or when reading them. At least, that's how I feel. At the same time I have to say that if I were to choose between e-textbooks or paper books for studying I have no doubt that e-books are, by far, the best and most practical option today. After all, I can still have my paper books for enjoyment when I want to read a good story, novel or a good non-fiction work in my spare time. I believe paper books will become more special, part of a different dimension, a different time, a different experience. A different relationship book-reader will emerge.
Some time ago I took part in an art project that consisted of going to the Finnish National Library, picking up a volume of a French encyclopedia from the 1700s and flipping the pages following the conceptual visual artist instructions. Fifty people took part in the project. After 10 minutes, the smell of the old books that had been closed for so long started to fill the room. I cannot well tell you the amazing feeling of touching those pages, one by one, feeling the difference in texture and ink in pages of the same volume, the diagrams and drawings were so different to what we see in today's books, not to mention the highly advanced graphics in electronic formats. It was a wonderful experience, indeed. How many times one has the chance to see, touch, smell, live a book of that kind? How many hands touched it before? What kind of energy has it been carrying along these centuries?
So yes, I love paper books. But I also value the advancement of technology to make the learning process more at ease with the times we live today and the times the future generations will face. We cannot deny the future generations the possibility of a quick access to the world's information or the possibility of learning more in less time which is also what I see using e-textbooks. Not accepting the emerging e-textbooks would be like saying that humanity did better writing on stone or cave walls centuries ago.
This is just part of the natural evolution of humanity. Those who can't adapt will find it difficult to survive.
Hi Tam--agreed--I can't see why or how textbook publishers would just "give away the farm" without figuring out how to derive revenue. I think that is one thing that is going to hold back widespread adoption of e-readers and e-text for use at colleges and universities.
I'd be curious to know how publishers that currently provide e-materials charge for them.
It all sounds great, but there are some very real, practical barriers to digital textbooks. The entire school curriculum is built upon traditional textbooks and it will take many years to change. In fact, students gave the Kindle a failing grade in pilot tests at several college campuses last year. Although technically a user can "annotate" a digital textbook, it's awkward. Much easier to jot notes in the margins on paper. Plus, the huge textbook publishers are still trying to figure out the business model by which they can protect their profits. Don't expect them to just release digital copies of those $250 textbooks!
Apart from the cost savings, I think the major advantage is the ease of use and interactivity. As opposed to static text on the books, digital content is much easier to read, browse, and search. Also, the animated nature makes the experience highly interesting.
Having a tablet to replace many, many books is definitely much more convenient. Also, the potential cost savings are a great advantage. Buying textbooks for college and university is a very large expense as it is right now.
Barbara, I wish tablets were around when I was in school rather than lugging around a bunch of books.This is the future, in fact who knows several years from now, students may not even need to attend classes at all anymore too.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.