The Inconvenient Truth About Textbooks

School-books I just went to the iTunes App Store, and in one impulsive click, downloaded Al Gore’s companion app to his book “Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.”

It’s an immersive learning environment that begs the question – $4.99 iPad app or $49 textbook? 

Watch this promo video and you decide if the eBook has made the traditional textbook a relic. If you need some more numbers to help you make the decision -a quick search on textbook costs turned up this data from a 2005 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “The average estimated cost of books and supplies for a first-time, full-time student at a four-year public institution was $898, or 26 percent of the cost of tuition and fees. At community colleges, the estimated cost of books and supplies was a whopping 72 percent of the cost of tuition and fees.” 

EBook or textbook – still trying to decide?  Don’t forget that future updates of the app could add more content or features – how about social networking?

Update: A hat tip to my friend Martin Edic at 24PageBooks who pointed out that Push Top Press (the folks who did the Gore’s book) plan to release a publishing platform for authors, publishers and artists to turn their books into interactive iPad or iPhone apps — no programming skills required. Imagine when students can make their own!

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