Where earlier attempts to target students via eBook readers may have failed to gather steam, as in the case of the Kindle DX, the iPad seems poised for success as prominent universities such as Seton Hill and George Fox have begun programs to provide all incoming undergraduate students with iPads for the upcoming school year. Perhaps part of the appeal for the moment lies in the expanded capacity of the tablet over a dedicated reader device, but it cannot help but give eBooks a boost along the way, especially given the fairly overwhelming response to the offering of the Kindle app for the new device.
Certainly it can’t hurt to be getting the device out there and in the hands of students who might not otherwise be able to justify such an untested product as an academic expense. This sort of widespread exposure, while providing a nice bonus for students, also serves as a motivation for teachers who might have been on the fence regarding the move to digital since it ensures that all their pupils will have uninterrupted access to the new medium.
Will this solve all the problems and do away with the paper textbook altogether? Not a chance. But where one program succeeds, others are bound to follow and therein lies the chance for a real change for the students.