From Insider Higher Ed:

The introduction of the $249 B&N Nookcolor signals the initial point of acceleration towards a digital textbook future.

Why:

Device Prices: A $249 price tag will decline rapidly over the next two years, as Amazon and Apple compete and the technology advances. Expect a $100 Nookcolor within 2 years.

Experience: Textbooks will be better than paper on the Nookcolor. Integrating videos, animations, recorded lectures, LMS functionality (through the browser), interactive diagrams and maps, and continuously updated content will turn textbooks into personalized, active learning platforms.

My oldest daughter goes to college in 2015. She will never buy a paper textbook. She will pay less than today’s students for textbooks, and will receive a much better product. Products like the Nookcolor are very good news indeed for both students and the textbook publishers.

1) Looking over the shoulder of someone reading a dermatology textbook (on an Ipad, I think), I was stunned. It was as surperior to a regular textbook, at least for something visual, as TV is to radio.

2) The open source movement will only accelerate this trend. In the same way that Wikipedia pushes other encyclopedias out of business, open source text books, especially in standardized and popular topics like math, biology, chemistry, economics and physics, will do the same to for-profit textbooks. If I were a Williams professor, I would open source my textbook as soon as possible. (Looking at you, Professor De Veaux!)

3) This will happen even faster in high school. Every parent I know hates the huge size of high school textbooks. Why are my children forced to lug these books around? I doubt that my 6th grader will ever use a textbook in high school.

4) Do you believe that 2015 estimate? I don’t. Although many, many Williams classes will be using electronic textbooks by then, there will definitely be some holdouts. It is almost impossible to make 100% of the Williams faculty do anything.

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