eBooks Could Save State Millions

By: Whitney Ray
By: Whitney Ray

The state spends 300 million dollars a year updating text books. New editions are printed long before most of the older books even begin to take on signs of aging. A move to electronic books could save the state millions, but the upfront cost maybe a turn off to budget writers.

They’re bulky, expensive, and full of facts. The textbook industry is a thriving multibillion dollars business. New editions are printed biannually to update advances in history, literature, and math; but before the new books even hit the shelves, the information is already available online.

Eric Tilton downloads new books on his Kindle. Eric likes the special features on the device, like the instant dictionary.

“A lot of problems people have learning, children do, is with vocabulary, since this has an automatic dictionary most of those problems dissipate.”

But you don’t have to have an electronic reader to download eBooks. Laptops and PCs can capture your favorite titles.

Rob Weissert of Florida TaxWatch says the state should study the cost effectiveness of switching to eBooks in public schools.

“It’s probably something Florida needs to explore a little more, not only do we not know the exact cost savings, we don’t know what would be necessarily available, we don’t know if it would meet state standards.”

The transition is already underway in many locations. Tired of driving to the library to pick up a hardback? This library has more than 22 shelves worth of books online in its eBook program.”

Librarian Diane Fendler says the program has been a huge success.

“Multiple patrons can checkout the same title at the same time. They don’t have to wait in line for a title.”

And eBooks solve another problem facing students by eliminating heavy book bags that cause back pain for many teens.

The two most popular eReaders are the Kindle which sells for 300 dollars and the Sony Reader which sells from around 200 dollars. Both devices can carry more than a thousand titles. A single text book, like one your child buys, can cost more than 200 dollars and is generally replaced after a few years.


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