An iPad can hold hundreds of expensive textbooks in low cost digital form, so why does and article on Cult of Mac compare paper textbooks to iPads? It’s math. Apple says learning on an iPad is a superior experience to the centuries old paper textbook. CoM says:
We completely agree that interactive learning is the road America needs to take, but getting there is going to be a huge problem. A recent study shows that using paper textbooks in schools is a lot cheaper than iPads, and that’s not likely to change unless Apple takes some drastic steps to reduce cost.
In the number crunching graphic that compares iPads to textbooks, it would cost $27-billion to provide an iPad to every student in the US. Six books per year for a high school student would equal $450 (about the cost of an iPad for schools). That’s at $75 per textbook. If the textbook price drops to, say, $15, the iPad becomes competitive as a way to distribute inexpensive digital textbooks in just a few years of use.
The CofM math shows that it costs a school about half that of an iPad to equip students with textbooks. But that assumes two things. iPads will remain at the same price. Digital textbooks would remain at the same price as paper textbooks.
The equation changes further when schools also stop using desktop or notebook computers in the classroom and use only iPads.
My prediction is that digital books (tablets like the iPad) will become less expensive. Prices on digital textbooks will drop dramatically. At some point in a few years, overall per-student, per-textbook costs will be less than using paper textbooks.