Tablet textbooks put pressure on print
The introduction of tablets and iBooks has pushed some publishing companies, like McGraw-Hill and Pearson, to release their textbooks in a digital format.
One major advantage tablets have over their paper counterparts is the consolidation of textbooks on one device rather than having multiple books.
“I would have to carry so much less, and I would also be able to get more functionality out of an iPad than a book itself,” said Eric Ventura, an Apple employee.
Lili Zamorano, a manager at the University of Houston Book Store, said despite the accessibility of e-books, sales in the bookstore have stayed consistent.
“The market is driven by the publishers, as is the price,” Zamorano said. “Until the demand for textbooks to go on the iPad becomes substantial, there won’t be a significant difference in our sales.”
Adjunct professor and iPad owner Carolyn Canville said she prefers textbooks and physical note taking.
“I think it’s so different when you actually write something; you can learn a lot more,” Canville said. “There is just something about taking notes.”
Students have mixed feelings about the possible shift from print to digital textbooks.
“I think there is always going to be a need for textbooks. More mobility? I’m an old-school guy. I’m traditional; I like to read textbooks,” said Naeem Abdullah, an organizational leadership and supervision junior.
“We’re so used to websites and looking at screens and I read that it can hurt your eyes. I think traditional reading is better. I prefer a regular book — something you can highlight.”
Tablets are also trying to make textbooks more affordable for students. Last year Amazon announced it would offer students an option to rent digital textbooks for a much cheaper price than hardback books. The option of extending the rental period would also be available.
“Initially, I was against using iPads and other tablets as learning tools, but if schools will make them more accessible for less fortunate students who can’t afford the latest in technology, then I can see the benefits from using electronic books — no more heavy backpacks,” said Melissa Harris, an art senior.
According to Pearson Foundation, 48 percent of college students say that tablets will effectively replace textbooks as we now know them within the next five years.