Kindle Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
137 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
There's an interesting article in today's Los Angles Times about two bills in the California legislature that could, if passed, make it easier for school districts to use e-textbooks. While the article doesn't mention Kindle specifically (but does mention Apple by name), there are some interesting points raised that could impact Amazon's ability to move beyond the college textbook market.

Currently, school districts in California are required to use state funding to purchase enough DTB textbooks for each student first and, only after that, can they purchase electronic versions. With the ongoiing crisis in state funding in our state, I think this provisioin pretty much eliminates the potential for a big take-off here for e-textbooks. A small pilot project, with heavy subsidy from in-state computer companies, isn't a replicatable model. Opening this up as an option for school districts makes a lot of sense - not only from the physical/ convenience perspective (lugging a bag of textbooks around), but also from the economic perspective - if a companion bill in the Assembly passes (requiring publishers to provide an electronic version at less cost than the print version). And, as Kindle users all know, there is no need to throw out an e-textbook, so converting to any electronic format has its environmental benefits too.

This must be scaring the beejeebers out of the textbook publishing industry - the changeover could come a whole lot faster than they, or Amazon or anyone else, might have envisioned.

It's going to be interesting to see how Kindle DX competes at this. Apparently Amazon has signed up the publishers of 60% of college textbooks already for the DX launch - but I don't know the details of the deals and whether or not the publishers will also produce their texts in other e-book formats.

I was all set to order a Kindle DX when I learned that you can't annotate, highlight or search text in the new Ks PDF documents - something that seems like a clear "must have" feature for textbooks and business users (not to mention the absolute need for folders for all Kindles). If Adobe produces a companion product for the DX, making those features available (and assuming they don't charge hundreds of dollars for it), it would help.

I'm not so sure that Whipspernet is a big deal for the textbook market, since school districts would probably control their students' textbook downloads, but it would give students who don't have access to a computer the opportunity to download free e-books, etc..

I would have jumped at the opportunity to have a DX, lack of critical features and all, if I were still a student. My left shoulder still remembers the aching from carrying all those books around for years and years. I might have become an avid reader long before I did, if I'd been able to download a book in the blink of an eye. It's going to be an interesting time seeing how entreprenuers, educators and legislators tackle this opportunity. But, don't count on California getting it right first :)

Glynnis

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-school-books12-2009may12,0,3863262.story?track=rss
Senate approves software as an alternative to textbooks
L.A. Unified supports the bill, which moves to the Assembly.
By Patrick McGreevy
May 12, 2009

Reporting from Sacramento -- California teenagers may be spared having to lug back-breaking loads of textbooks to school under a proposal that would make it easier for campuses to use electronic instructional material.

Allowing high schools greater freedom to spend state money on software to put textbooks on laptops and other electronic devices was backed by the Los Angeles Unified School District and approved Monday by the state Senate.

The Assembly will consider the proposal, drafted by state Sen. Elaine Alquist (D-Santa Clara). "Today's K-12 students represent the first generation to have spent their entire lives surrounded by and using computers, video games, digital music players, video cameras, cellphones and all the other gadgets of the digital age," Alquist said after the 36-0 Senate vote.

"Today's students are no longer the students of blackboards and chalk."

California law limits how school districts can use state funds for instructional materials, requiring them to purchase enough textbooks for all students before spending money on electronic material.
As a result, some districts have purchased materials in both book form and software or have refrained from buying software, Alquist said.

SB 247 would allow districts to satisfy textbook requirements if they can provide each student with hardware and software that meet the same accessibility requirements that printed textbooks offer.

L.A. Unified has conducted a pilot program, as have schools in Lemon Grove and Fullerton, working with tech companies, including Apple, to provide students in select classrooms with laptops, which they can take home.

However, fewer than 1,000 students in L.A. Unified have been able to participate so far, officials said.

"This is really the wave of the future," said Virginia Strom-Martin, a lobbyist for L.A. Unified.

A separate measure in the state Assembly would require publishers to furnish instructional materials in an electronic format at less cost than the print version. That measure is AB 314 by Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43,324 Posts
And so it begins...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
446 Posts
YIPPEE!!!  Can't wait to see it!!!  Though I am supremely jealous because I am just ending school and my hubby is starting, we have already discussed getting a DX for him when he starts in September, wish I had an excuse to have one! :)

Rachel
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
I'd be interested in seeing some cost/benefit analyses on the Kindle as a textbook replacement. The breakpoint would be when the cost of the Kindle and the etexts would be substantially less than that of the texts alone. I am really excited about the possibilities of the etext. It has the potential of eliminating the current print and distribution part of the process. Errors could be corrected "on the fly". Texts could be updated easily and without the issues of how to dispose of the outmoded texts: they would simply be deleted and the new ones downloaded. Distribution would be a snap, just push the appropriate texts out to the student's Kindle. No more rush of the students to buy a copy of an assigned reading, just download to their Kindle.

I'm really excited by the potential for savings presented by the Kindle, both monetarily and in terms of natural resources. Plus, I can't help but think that the Kindle might promote more reading with kids, particularly if we provide them with books they really like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
460 Posts
This is pretty interesting news, and I'll be curious to see how far this goes. I think that in the long run, this would dramatically reduce the cost of textbooks for schools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
The issue I see looming is if the price of the eTextbook can compare to the savings from purchasing textbooks used, and re-selling them again and again. That's how it worked when I was in school: You only bought new if you *had* to, and even then you sold it to the used bookstore at the end of the term.

Unless the pricing of DX versions ends up at the same (or preferably lower) net cost, I see trouble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,392 Posts
akjak said:
The issue I see looming is if the price of the eTextbook can compare to the savings from purchasing textbooks used, and re-selling them again and again. That's how it worked when I was in school: You only bought new if you *had* to, and even then you sold it to the used bookstore at the end of the term.

Unless the pricing of DX versions ends up at the same (or preferably lower) net cost, I see trouble.
The publishers could probably significantly lower e-textbooks prices (vs DTB versions) due to the fact that they could eliminated the used textbook market which they do not profit at all from.

Really what I see happening long term is some sort of a licensing agreement between the schools and the publishers of the textbooks they use. You sign up for a class the textbook fee is built in and you have access to the e-material.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
947 Posts
akjak said:
The issue I see looming is if the price of the eTextbook can compare to the savings from purchasing textbooks used, and re-selling them again and again. That's how it worked when I was in school: You only bought new if you *had* to, and even then you sold it to the used bookstore at the end of the term.
That applies to college textbooks, but not in this situation. K-12 textbooks are generally purchased by the school, and re-used for several years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,005 Posts
geko29 said:
That applies to college textbooks, but not in this situation. K-12 textbooks are generally purchased by the school, and re-used for several years.
My DD's college (a fairly major state school) still kind of subscribes to the K-12 model. One of the fees you pay with your tuition is a textbook fee. You don't buy any textbooks -- you go check them out from the repository at the beginning of the semester and return them at the end. And I can tell you the textbook fees are a whole lot cheaper than buying the books each semester.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,190 Posts
Tip10 said:
My DD's college (a fairly major state school) still kind of subscribes to the K-12 model. One of the fees you pay with your tuition is a textbook fee. You don't buy any textbooks -- you go check them out from the repository at the beginning of the semester and return them at the end. And I can tell you the textbook fees are a whole lot cheaper than buying the books each semester.
Thats the same way it's done here, it makes a lot of sense I think
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top