College Media Network - Search the largest news resource for college students by college students

Kindles, Tablets save students thousands


Published: Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Updated: Thursday, September 2, 2010 23:09


While I am not a self-proclaimed technology nerd, I do enjoy researching, and sometimes obtaining, the latest electronic gadgets. My friends and family can attest that I often sway in my opinions of the latest technology. I refuse to own a smart-phone in an effort to remain slightly less connected in comparison to the average eighteen to twenty-two year old college student.

As I enter my Senior year pursuing a B.S. in Economics, the best  professors I have had have either had strict no-laptop policies or used limited technology in the classroom. I am not, however, Amish. I do enjoy keeping up with old friends and family via Twitter and can often be found in front of my email.

One of my most recent investments came in an Amazon Kindle last January. A former staunch believer that technology can not replace the feeling of turning the printed pages from the right side to the left, I was hesitant to even touch my dad’s first generation Kindle. Surely the repeated click of the “Next Page” button was not nearly as satisfying as the weight of the book shifting from right hand to the left.

Nonetheless, after one trial use of my dad’s Kindle and a day’s worth of research, I was sold. The past eight months have revolutionized the way I leisurely read. I am reading more often, faster, and my library boasts a much broader collection of fiction and non-fiction than it did in 2009. The benefits have been endless.

It wasn’t until the release of the iPad that I began to think of the cost-saving benefits that e-readers and tablet computers offer. Over the course of my stay at UNCG, I have purchased almost $2,000 in textbooks, merely six of which remain on my bookshelf today, all are Economics textbooks that will be sparingly used in my remaining studies. However, I believe we are not far away from a day where a students textbook costs will be cut by at least 50 percent.

Textbooks have been the last books to find their way onto e-readers and Tablet computers. The textbook market for years has been one that is fueled by an inelastic demand curve from desperate college students required to purchase the latest edition of a textbook. A book they may never crack open after four months of use. The supply side of this market, the publishing companies, has taken advantage of this inelastic demand. Simply put, a rise in the price of a textbook will see little change in the quantity sold to consumers. E-readers and tablets can change this.

The sole purpose of the innovation of new technology is to make the completion of tasks more efficient for the consumer. Students have discovered in the past five years the efficiency and effectiveness of online textbooks. Not only are they lighter on their backpack, but they are also lighter on their wallet. A company named Inkling is taking the next step by creating an interactive textbook application for the iPad.

In an entry in the New York Times “Bits” blog on August 23, Nick Bilton reveals the marvel of Inkling. “One unique feature the service offers is the ability to discuss passages of a book with other students or professors. By selecting a piece of text you can leave a note for others to read and develop a conversation around the text.” Inkling can also “search text, change the size of the type, purchase individual chapters of books, highlight text for others to see and take pop quizzes directly within the app.”

Applications like Inkling are revolutionizing how students interact with their professors and peers inside and outside the classroom. Even from one who learns more by lecture, this is the technology that is the future of education from the elementary to the University level. It is up to the student to embrace this future and demand the change needed in the textbook market. Your wallet will thank you.

Recommended: Articles that may interest you

Be the first to comment on this article! Log in to Comment

You must be logged in to comment on an article. Not already a member? Register now

Log In