Via Slashdot comes this story of a school in Texas is giving students laptops with ebooks for their textbooks. Interesting. God knows, I’d have loved to carry a single Thinkpad to my Georgia Tech classes, rather than the 50 pounds of textbooks I humped around. Of course, I’d rather be one of the students in Virginia getting an iBook, given a choice between it or the Thinkpad.
The article cites the cost of the device as the big issue. Since the students books cost $350/year, getting a laptop for around $500 is where the administrator cites as the sweet spot in price where they begin to cost less overall. I wonder how long they expect to keep any individual laptop in service? I’ve been saying that ebooks on PDAs have a natural growth curve ahead of them, when the Gameboy generation that has grown to love that form factor become adult consumers. Add more people to that if students get used to the joy of ebooks in school – assuming that just by virtue of being “school stuff” they don’t learn to reflexively hate it.