To kick off Digital Learning Day on Feb. 1, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Department of Education jointly held a Town Hall in Washington, which issued an election year "challenge to states and companies to ensure every K-12 student has a digital textbook within five years."
Quite an ambitious goal! However, ebook technology is evolving and stabilizing today and the pricing of textbooks (from K-12 through college) has become a major issue.
I was asked to write about this for a blog posting for Information Today. You may want to give it a read.
Many issues remain unsettled today, but the efforts to experiment and test ideas and technologies are a positive indicator of interest and innovation. Student acceptance of etextbooks is still a question, with some scattered surveys finding that students still prefer the current print-based systems.
Ebooks accounted for only 2.8% of the estimated $8 million textbook market in the U.S. in 2010, so the products are still at a very early stage of development - but clearly, there are efforts to accelerate this quickly in the coming years.