Wednesday, February 8, 2012
eBooks And The Future
About a few weeks or so back Apple announced that the Ipad 3 will be coming out sometime soon shocking all of us for there has never been such a short gap between releases, and though they have been criticized for this move one can't help but appreciate the updates they will be bringing with it, there are a few, but none as game changing as their announcement about school books. Say what you wish about Apple, about how many "updates" they release a year and so on, without fail they change the game every few years, and this will be the next big game changer, one that might bring about many positive repercussions, while possibly causing some negative backlash in the process.
Here is the point, apparently Apple has announced that they are striking a deal with Junior/Senior High Schools which includes all of the books a student might need for class to be available for purchase on the Ipad and for all those books to be less than $50. The price range is still in negotiation, but the bottom line is the same, books will be available cheap for students. There are a few awesome things that will be available as well like teachers will be able to send full class notes to everyone in the class via the Ipad, which means that if you miss class your professor will be able to forward you all the information you missed thus you won't be as harmed by missing class as you would now.
It is rumored that the book software on it is greatly improved as well, the feature that really caught our eye was that as you highlight terms on your book the Ipad records those terms and will make flash cards for you to be able to study those terms later, which is a huge time waster when you do it be hand, for anyone out there that knows what it is to study for a test with 300 vocab words this is good news for you. Apple has not been able to hit the college market yet for it is a mess, but surely in the coming years we will see the Ipad and other notebooks make their way into all college classrooms, not only cutting the price of books but also lowering the load in your backpack.
The advantages to the ebook versus regular books is endless and easy to see, right now a regular college student spends about 200-300 on books, if you're going for any medical field it comes close to 500-700, which is absurd, book pricing within schools has become an absurdity, and thus explains why students cheered when they heard about this possible aid to their wallets. Apple has not been the only company trying to make headway into this direction but sometimes it feels like Apple is always the first company that actually makes it happen, soon we will see various companies follow suit making Ipads and other notebooks the way of the future.
How could this ever have bad repercussions? Well, this would cause regular books to become less desired, thus less people would buy books and more people would opt for the electronic copy of a book versus the printed copy. This would occur for good reason, the printed copy is always more expensive than the electronic copy due to use of paper, binding and so on. The first people to feel this effect would be the small book sellers, the small stores would close first, libraries would become less and less traveled, though their book stock would grow due to people getting rid of their books, then soon the publishers would feel the damage and many binders would go out of business as well. This is a possible negative outcome.
It would be unfortunate if that outcome came to pass but we do not believe that it will, yes some impact will be felt within the market, but we cannot make any claim about what is going to happen without analyzing the best example we have in front of us, music. When music went electronic we all thought that CD stores would go out of business, that the music industry would plummet and that lowering CD cost to $9.99 on Itunes was entertainment suicide, but look at us now, we still have music stores, we still have CDs for sale and on of top that Vinyl is actually making a come back, so do we feel that regular books will disappear?, by all means no, this will that not occur, short of a world wide book burning.
Books being available cheaper for students is something we all need, for education, for our economy, and even for health and efficiency, it will change the way we do school for the better, it will not destroy the existence of books in print, there will always be a market for books in print, there are plenty of people out there that love the feel of a book, the smell of a new book, the ability to turn the pages yourself and so on. For those of us that grew up reading printed books going electronic will be difficult, though for some topics going electronic won't be hard at all. Besides school books, think cooking books, think aerobic books, research books, dictionaries, reference books, sports books and so on, the change to ebooks is not only more practical but it will be cheaper, more organized and won't occupy a ton of space in your home, which are all great things.
We are looking forward to the future, for it looks more and more like it will be a good one. We hope you have had a good week so far, and that you will finish this week strong.
Love from your humble blogger,