|Flickr CC Photo by kariek|
Of course, initially, this was pretty much out of our hands. Digital texts simply were unavailable and those which were offered few advantages.
But due to what I call the "Kindling of America" the landscape has changed. The notion of a digital text seems less strange and more and more digital texts are available (Shoot, Project Gutenberg and Google Books now offers thousands of classics for free). The ground is surely shifting. In fact I just learned of a projection that 26% of textbook sales will be digital by the year 2015.
Misconceptions about digital books persist based on their rocky start. I also know first-hand that teenagers in my own classes have shown a reluctance to switch to ebooks even when give a less expensive option, like my AP Government and Politics text.
So, as I said at the top, circumstances have led me to start charging full bore into promoting ebook adoption at our school. But a couple of colleagues stopped me in my tracks, pointing out to me the difficulties in offering online ebook options to parents. We have a third party virtual bookstore and it doesn't offer digital editions. So what do I expect parents to do? Visit several publishers web sites, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. to round up a school year's worth of books. The very inconvenience of acquiring the digital editions would undermine any efforts to adopt them.
Imagine my delight then when I discovered at least one vendor which has fashioned "agreements with major publishers to continually add new" ebooks. I've made contact with them to see how their operations could fit with ours. Even if they don't, it's a great sign that a technology which has become so popular with consumers may also come out of the closet into our students' hands.