HighTech Textbooks

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Monday, August 8, 2011 - 6:59am

College students may see quite a few more E-readers when they return to classes this fall. It's the latest episode in the digital reading revolution.

Instances where groups of students are referencing E-readers leaves little doubt that digital reading has swept across college campuses faster than you can say, "English Literature 101".

The main reason: cost.

"Textbooks are enormously, obscenely expensive and they continue to go up every year", says college student Travis Caskey.

It is thus with textbooks that the real revolution is building, with digital versions already costing just a fraction of the hard copies -- analysts see it moving quickly, too.

"So it might take a couple of years but I would not be super surprised if the textbook market really shifted online in a huge way over the course of three or four years", predicts CNET Senior Editor Dan Ackerman.

Even including the price of the E-reader, expenses can be slashed considerably, a fact that Amazon recognizes as their site now has a section dedicated to E-reader versions of textbooks.

“The ability to access the data from any computer that you have, from any tablet, even from any phone you have, I think, is huge”, says Ackerman.

There's also an upside for publishers, by way of reducing overhead.

"You may not be selling the physical books through stores”, says Ackerman, “but in the long term you're getting rid of so many of those hard costs of printing and transporting the textbooks."

Digital textbooks are only about one percent of the textbook market, but that's expected to grow to 20% percent by 2015.
 

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