Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Brave New World of eTextbooks

My youngest son attends a private high school and for three years I bought hardcover textbooks, scouring the Internet for the best prices. Lots of good sites popped up for second hand books and we did that most of the time. At the end of the year I'd even get some of my money back by turning around and re-selling said books on said same Internet. Of course, I never did seem to get back what I paid, but hey, it was something.

Last year when my son's school announced they were "moving to iPads" I wasn't quite sure what that meant. All I knew was that said son suddenly needed an iPad. Son: "Darn it, mom, the school says I 'have' to get an iPad for next year. I know, bummer."

Long and short of it, the school went all high-techy on us - imagine that, a school in the middle of Silicon Valley. This year, my son's senior year, all books are "apps" and ebooks.

Now I'm no stranger to ereaders (I've got a Kindle) and I'm on board with all that even though if you ask me there is still that something about holding a shiny new paperback in your hands. Still, the fact that I've got over 200 books on my Kindle is sobering. I could go anywhere with my Kindle and always have something to read. This is all to say that I'm pretty high techy myself, thank you very much.

But last night I ordered son's textbooks - or apps, I mean. Not having any Apple products myself (Steve Jobs just rolled over in his grave)though I live just south of "Apple Land" I'm not entirely familiar with apps. I just know that you get them for your phone or pad and they do something. Apparently these apps I bought for my son are now going to teach him something.

And while all this makes sense on one level (textbooks are so heavy many kids start visits to the chiropractor at an early age) I don't know, it's just a sad day for books. Sooner or later books made our of paper are going to be some rare kind of beast, like the 8 track player. I'm keeping some of mine, no matter what.

But in case you think everyone is going quietly into the night, under books for my son's Trig class was a note: SEE TEACHER FIRST

So, there might be one paper book among the bunch. And, there is always Art class.

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