im baaaaaaaaack! and so is apple!!

happy new year, dearest of readers, even though we are 18 days in. better late than never is still true in my book.

when last we met, a scant two months ago (wow, time really flies, doesn’t it? yes, it does!) i promised to follow up on the digital divide topic, focusing on post-secondary usage of e-readers, e-textbooks and the like. and DARN if my timing (or lack of) doesn’t serve me well.

TODAY, apple announced an e-textbook initiative (along with several others). usatoday headline screams (okay, announces) apple brings textbooks to iPad. introducing ibooks2, a new digital textbook service. see the pretty washington post slideshow here.

and here’s the play-by-play from the press conference, courtesy of cnnmoney.com

along with the announcement about ibooks2, there is also, wait for it . . .ibooks author (for macs only) which allows a user to create AND publish their own textbook.

price point for existing textbooks . . . $14.99 (holy toledo!!) but initially we’re talking about the 9-12 grade textbook market.

excited? oh, did i tell you that publishers have signed on? Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (that’s NINETY PERCENT of the market), according to usatoday.

now are you excited? but wait, there’s just one…small…catch . . . how many students own iPads?

textbooks are usually distributed to each and every student in k-12. just one classroom full of iPads won’t suffice. so, instead of schools distributing textbooks, will they begin to distribute iPads pre-loaded with textbooks? hmmm………

as for the college crowd, welllllll, that’s a sticky wicket. there are soooooo many choices for college students. there’s the campus bookstore. there’s online bookstores (amazon, barnes & noble, etc). now, there are rental options, such as chegg.com and ecampus.com.

over at c4universe.com, there’s an article saying college students consider a printer more important than an iPad. they refer to data from a report at onlinecolleges.net about technology use on the college campus, who refer to data from various other sources such as educause.edu and pewinternet.org (not too shabby). as the circulation supervisor of an academic library, i would not dispute that report.

but let’s go to the oracle of post-secondary learning . . . the chronicle!!! here are some of the articles published within the last year:

in the 21st century, let’s ban (paper) books (south korea did, so why not?)
iPads could hinder teaching, professors say (that’s what they say)
what i’ve learned from teaching with iPads (a lot)

personally, i think there’s a disconnect between who wants to use technology, when to use and how to use it. just because students use iPods to listen to music, doesn’t mean they want to use that same technology in their educational pursuits. and iPods, even at $200, are a whole lot less expensive than iPads. and the format for music has been standardized (mp3) while there’s still debate over e-book formatting, DRM, lending rights, ownership rights and even fonts.

think about your own usage and that of your friends and co-workers. did they get a kindle or nook for christmas? did you? are they using overdrive through their public library? are you? do you have kids? any academic usage in their classroom or school?

the magic 8 ball says:
the move to consumer e-book consumption: it is decidedly so.
the move to academic adoption of e-reader technology and e-textbooks: reply hazy, try again!

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

THUMBS UP to the sisters brothers by patrick dewitt, my favorite book of 2011!!

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