Are ebooks are killing off textbooks?

Posted by Radu Tyrsina

If you were thinking eBooks wouldn't eventually kill off those heavy textbooks, you were wrong. Well, at least partly wrong.

Yes, the bells are tolling loudly for our hardcover friends in South Korea, as the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology pledges to migrate all textbooks to digital format by 2015.

Are ebooks are killing off textbooks?Predictably, elementary schools will be leading the way - being the first to make the switch in 2014.

Of course, the ministry intends to develop digital textbooks for all subjects and schools.

Nevertheless, during the first stages of the transition, both paper and digital textbooks will be used in parallel.
 
The total cost of the futuristic, yet timely, switch?

A cool $2.4 billion, which, if you think about it, is actually a small price to pay to ensure the proper education of future Samsung executives.
 
Not much is known about the devices that will eventually be chosen to display the digital text, but we can assume a cloud-based system will make it easy for both children and teachers to access relevant information.
 
Currently, there are quite a few schools in the country using textbooks displayed on standard notebooks, though I highly doubt this will be the solution adopted on a national level.

Most likely, the ministry will choose to purchase tablet-like devices, with a more substantial screen size and highly customizable interface. Then again, IMHO, it's quite South Korea will use standard iPads or Samsung Galaxy Tabs, as those devices simply don't provide cheap and efficient features. That’s why a basic, stripped down ereader seems like a more feasible option.
 
That being said, Samsung does have a pretty decent chance of becoming the provider of such devices, not only because the government will be interested in leveraging a local manufacturer, but also because the corporation routinely manages to design some of the best mobile products on the market.

Leaving aside the devices the children will use, the paper-to-digital migration will also require specialized infrastructure, including servers to store all the data and a Wi-Fi network for connectivity.

The infrastructure is expected to suck up the majority of costs associated with the project, as the ministry is planning to supply free devices only to low-income families.