Friday, July 17, 2009

E-book Readers Get Less Than Rave Reviews on Campus

Link to July 16 Wall Street Journal article, "Book Smarts? E-Texts Receive Mixed Reviews From Students".

Excerpt: Proponents tout e-books’ potential to do things that old-fashioned textbooks can’t. Since e-books aren’t printed and don’t need to be sold through physical distributors, they should theoretically be less expensive than regular books and can save students and schools money. What’s more, e-textbooks are environmentally friendly, can lighten backpacks and keep learning materials current.

But the transition has sparked controversy among some educators. They say that digital reading comes with drawbacks, including an expensive starting price for e-book readers and surprisingly high prices for digital textbooks. Also, publishers make e-texts difficult to share and print, and it is unclear how well students will adapt to reading textbooks on a screen, some say. The earliest versions of these devices lack highlighting, note-taking and sharing capabilities, and one leading provider’s e-books expire after several months, meaning they can’t be kept for future reference.

High-tech/high-touch. Hit-and-miss futurist (and who isn't) John Naisbitt hit the nail on the head in this case.

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