Future of Textbooks in Orange County CA Schools

Patricia Hawke

The future of textbooks seems dim. More and more people are making the switch into buying, Nook and Kindles for their everyday readings. Instead of having to go to the book store, search for their next read, wait in line to purchase it and then drive home they can simply tap the screen on their Kindle or Nook, search for what they want in the comfort of their own home and download it. This digital innovation was very popular to students hoping they would start selling textbooks through them and they did just that.
California based CourseSmart started offering electronic textbooks in 2007. According to them they have sold to many students in over 5,900 schools. Not only do the students not have to lug around thick, heavy textbooks, they have the opportunity to take their textbooks anywhere and get instant access to all of their textbooks in one device. This is changing the way we read. The eReaders are now designed to have a special screen that “looks” like paper, so that you don’t get that feeling of staring at a bright computer screen all day.
Arnold Swarzenegger, the governor of California said that they would be replacing some of the high school science and math texts with online versions. These would be accessible from eReaders and Online. He is hoping by making the switch they could save hundreds of millions of dollars per year because of the low cost of digital textbooks compared to printed textbooks. William Habermehl, the superintendent of the 500,000 total students Orange County School District, believe that in five years time, most students will make the switch to using digital textbooks.
Some people may argue that the opportunity to use digital textbooks are going to be limited to rich people, as the poor may not have the resources to purchase a Kindle or Nook and may not have online access at home to be able to view the digital textbooks from home to complete schoolwork. This will be the savior of printed textbooks because of the inaccessibility of the digital ones from students home who do not have Internet access at their home. Students could go to the library and use their computers to access their online digital textbooks but schools can’t require students to use online textbooks and force students to use online versions. They need to offer both and see where that takes them.
Public schools from kindergarten throughout high school are required to offer free textbooks. By going digital, states can cut out a lot of cost from having to purchase printed textbooks and put their saved money into better programs for schools to help students further their education. They want to start implementing online classes for students who wish to get ahead and take an extra course from home, or for those who need the extra class credits in order to graduate. Either way students will benefit from having these online classes and online textbooks, making it all easier and lighter on their backpack.
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit  Orange County School Ratings  and Public School Rankings