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Books are Terminated in California

Arnie wants book digitised in schools

Arnie wants books digitised in schools

Recent news from California about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger seeking to move all of the States school textbooks from printed versions to digital versions to save $350 million  came as no surprise this week. The State has practical reasons behind it. Namely, a $24.3 billion debt in their finances.

It then comes as no surprise to hear that Amazon will launch its new ebook device, the Kindle DX, this year which has a bigger screen and is aimed at the academic market which needs more ‘space’ on the screen to accommodate the richer nature of school text books than novels. That’s good timing.

There are people who doubt whether there will be demand for ebooks, as illustrated in today’s article in The Bookseller, when novelist, Nick Hornby, voiced his opinion that people only buy books for reading on summer holidays. Hornby made sense but this is only one part of the market, of course.

Publishers continue to see the rise in sales of their digital products, such as ebooks and audiobooks. They are not yet in double digits as a percentage but they are growing and at a pace. Schwarzenegger’s announcement depressed Pearson’s share price and when 42% of the publisher’s sales come from the education market, it’s time for them to stop sucking the cash cow dry and switch to digital.

There are concerns over the price of some of the ebook reading devices, but when you consider that an academic textbook can cost between £40 and £55, and a reader device costs £300 to £400, local education authorities will soon be better off by providing digital versions of books, even if they are downloaded onto existing laptops or PC’s.

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