Digital Textbook Library- Coming To A School Near You?

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Digital TextbookThe eBook revolution has taken the world of publishing by storm. While ereaders, the small hand held computers used to read eBooks, are an expense up front, they also provide access to books that are a fraction of the cost of their printed and bound counterparts. Already accepted largely by avid readers, eBooks have another audience that may have been quiet before this point; students.

The Benefits of Digital Libraries

Whether it’s in a high school or in a college setting, there are a lot of definite benefits available in the form of a digital library. Portability is one of the biggest benefits, since students will no longer have to carry huge numbers of textbooks to and from their lockers. A simple ereader that fits in a pocket, or which can be carried easily in a hand can hold every book a student will ever need in digital format. There are also no problems with torn pages, writing in the margins or the binding coming undone. Digital books are the next best thing to immortal, as long as the files remain uncorrupted. This is a huge benefit for schools that will only need to buy “new books” when different editions with changed versions come out. And, of course, those books will be pennies on the dollar when compared to their physical counterparts. This is a huge benefit for college students, who could buy for $5 a digital textbook whose print version might be over $100 new.

How Likely Is This Move?

While there are a lot of benefits of switching to a digital library, it isn’t likely to be a universal move, and it probably won’t happen overnight. The reason for that is that ereaders are still expensive pieces of technology, and textbook printers are not all on board with eBook versions of their texts yet. It represents a shift in the nature of publishing, and that shift can be a cut in profits. So without the demand from the readers, it’s possible that some texts will never be available in digital formats.

Funding

Some schools might make the switch to ereaders and digital textbooks, but those schools will be the ones that are willing to gamble both on the eBook revolution, and who have the amount of money to pay for the upfront costs of having these books in their libraries. Also, someone will have to foot the bill for the technology to read the books. This means that either students will have to bring their own ereaders, or the school will have to provide them. If that becomes an issue then the school will have to decide which ereader it’s going to use, which format of textbook it’s going to use, and all of those other, important decisions that come with introducing a new technology. And if a certain ereader becomes defunct, as the Barnes and Noble Nook is currently doing, then the school and the students will be out quite a lot of money.

To conclude, while digital textbooks would save a great deal of money, having them as a universal option is probably a long way off. However don’t be surprised if you start hearing this conversation more and more as technology continues to advance.

This article was provided by Thomas Chavez, blogger for Prestige Tracker. With a relentless passion for truth and knowledge, Thomas defines success in the blogging community.