Yesterday's post was my 500th. When I started, I had no idea what I was doing and what would be involved. Now updating this blog is just another part of my daily routine--like brushing my teeth and taking my vitamins. And today is Post #501.
I got a surprising number of emails from people wanting to discuss the post from yesterday about schools replacing textbooks with laptops. I was a little take aback by the number of people who hated the idea of laptops for students. Most of those who were opposed felt that, given the fragility of laptops, bulk purchases were a waste of taxpayers' money since students would drop, break and spill stuff on them as well as losing them.
I will admit that I was a little surprised that schools are looking at giving the students laptops instead of e-book reader devices, which would be much cheaper. I suspect that the plan is for students to do more than just read. With laptops, they could do research on the Internet, write papers and do projects.
H said, "I wonder if the school's have to partner with one publisher in order to offer ebooks across the entire school."
I only know how it works in Texas. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) manages the textbook adoption process as a part of developing the statewide curriculum. Texas has something called Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). All school districts are expected to provide their students with the essential knowledge and skills established by the TEA. Schools can submit requests for textbooks to be reviewed for possible use. Each year a different subject matter (science, math, etc) is reviewed. Two lists are developed: the conforming list (approved books) and the non-conforming list (the book provides at least half the information expected to be learned in the subject). School districts order from these two lists.
The books are bought in bulk at the state level and then distributed to the various school districts. A variety of publishers are involved.
I don't see why e-books would be any different than regular textbooks. The State contracts with a number of publishers for hardback textbooks, and I would expect them to order e-books from a variety of publishers, too.
I suspect the people who will be the most opposed to e-books will be college and university professors. Many professors use their own books as the required text for their classes. College textbooks are extremely costly. Students often try to purchase used books to save money. However, some professors choose to "update" their textbook every couple of years so that the incoming students are unable to buy the textbooks secondhand. Instead, they are forced to buy the latest edition new, providing a nice steady stream of income for the professors.
E-books will end this dynamic. Updating textbooks will be a simple matter. This alone makes me look forward to the day when e-books replace textbooks.