Sunday, March 3, 2013

eTextbooks vs. Textbooks: eTextbook Market Update Q4 2012

The eTextbook market has been a subject of interest for educators, publishers, distributors, tech companies and students alike. In 2011, the higher education market for eTextbooks grew 44% to $267 million.

So far, eTextbooks have claimed about 6% or so of the total textbook market share. Publishing market research firm Simba Information estimates that this will escalate to 11% in 2013.Both the public and private sectors are driving rapid adoption.

All major textbook publishers have jumped on board, as have Amazon and Apple. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called for rapid adoption, stating that “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete.” Duncan asserted that this is necessary to keeping American education competitive.

The most recent PISA results found roughly 20 other countries performing significantly better in math and science than the U.S. South Korea, which consistently outperforms the U.S. academically, has set 2015 as a date for full eTextbook adoption.

That the wealthiest country in the world has fallen below average in these key areas has justifiably sparked concern, but can eTextbooks help American schools? If so, what obstacles have to be overcome before we see widespread adoption?


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