“Ripe for digital destruction,” (A Textbook) were words of the late Steve Jobs referring to the enormous potential for the textbooks industry. He believed the textbook market to be worth an estimated 8 billion dollars in the U.S. alone. His vision was to lessen the burden of carrying heavy textbooks around, while also offering them as a free feature with the iPad. He wanted to change the culture of textbooks forever.
The essay “What are the Enablers and Barriers to Successful Adoption and Commercialization of Digital Textbooks,” discusses the many benefits and drawback of transitioning to digital textbooks. The essay asserts that digital textbooks are on the rise and that there is a good probability they will overtake printed textbooks in the foreseeable future. They are currently accessible to students by download onto a reading device or by logging into the publisher’s site online. The main players involved in the innovation and development of digital textbooks include Flat World Knowledge Inc., Connexions, Courseload, VitalScore, CafeScibe, Coursesmart, Inkling, and Know. The overwhelming factor driving these companies and the user is the cost. The successful implementation of digital textbooks would greatly decrease costs to the consumer and the creators/developers, making it a win-win situation. The three business models include the profit multiplier and the two switch board models. The essay concludes that advances in innovation and technology will lead to advances in education. In this economy, lower costs will lead to more people completing college and a more intelligent society.
Digital textbooks present many advantages and very few drawbacks to both the student and the seller. The primary advantage to the student is the significantly lower cost of electronic textbooks, which are priced around $75 in comparison to some paper textbooks that are close to $200. Electronic textbooks are more portable and convenient as they can be accessed by a tablet, downloaded onto a computer or accessed via the internet. The technological benefits available on an electronic textbook are endless. The audio and video capabilities will liven up learning and change the way students understand and retain the material. The emergence of three-dimensional technology may also play a role in the near future. In addition, digital textbooks are much more user friendly. Studying for tests will be more efficient as highlighted notes can be easily transferred into electronic note cards for memorization. The main downside to electronic textbooks is that students will have to purchase a reading device, tablet, laptop or smartphone in order to view digital textbooks away from home or on the go. Most college students have already made this investment prior to starting college.
The seller of digital textbooks will also be saving...