eTextbooks expected to grow with iPad on campus

Video and color graphics are key to why many people think Apple’s iPad and other tablets will usher in the era of electronic textbooks, Reuters reports. Analysts say that unlike’s Kindle, which also has been touted as an educational tool, the iPad can play video and illustrate charts and graphics in full color. It also allows for easy note-taking, and the online component allows for integrated tests, exercises, and updates. “If I had the potential to buy all my textbooks as eTextbooks, I would,” said Alexis Chavez, 22, of the University of Arizona. “It’s just easier to carry an iPad than to have to carry a bunch of books in your backpack.” A growing acceptance of digital delivery in the $4.5 billion university textbook market, until now hampered by the lack of a suitable platform, will have major implications for dominant players such as Pearson PLC, privately held Cengage Learning, and McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Publishers can save on printing and shipping, said Morningstar analyst Michael Corty. But they might also be hard pressed to maintain prices as publishers try to lure early adopters and compete with free web offerings. Digital textbooks are expected to grow to 4 percent of overall sales this year from under 3 percent, rising to 11 percent by 2013, according to Simba Information. “What the tablets have to do and in many ways can do are to make reading easier for students and a better experience,” said senior Simba analyst Kathy Mickey…

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Denny Carter

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