Imagine! Everything you need, and lots more, for a complete education from an Internet-based syllabus offered through through accredited institutions, even through high schools and middle schools. Charter Home-based Schools for one…anyone?
Why have none of the e-reader manufacturers or sellers like Amazon, Sony, B&N and all the new ones coming, made a definitive deal with Pearson, Prentice Hall, Cengage, McGraw Hill, and other textbook publishers to publish textbooks through their devices? Answer? Because the economic logic behind such a deal is overwhelming, and monopoly publisher resistance is based on preserving margins and market share.
If free access and competition were driving the marketplace we would see such a deal-soon. What an opportunity! I venture that within a year, some one will announce that they have developed a textbook publishing system that will lower costs substantially for students, who now pay upwards of $100.00 for a textbook designed and driven by a monopolistic marketplace wherein publishers create (using paid college professors),design and print Content that is approved by College and School board administrations, and competition is much less, even non-existent, in many markets.
Even now, Amazon and other e-reader publishers have lowered the electronic retail of “Best Sellers to $12.95-$14.95 from $24.95-$34.95 (and up). The Department of Education, in establishing national minimum standards, has the tools to set a framework for such an Internet-based curriculum and syllabus, although the private markets will seize the opportunity long before Uncle Sam gets there.
So, Amazon, will you be the one? Apple? Google? (Google already is working on a 20 million plus book digitized library, with projects underway with partners around the world. The resources available to e-learning are phenomenal-Getty images, Microsoft’s acquisitions, Library of Congress and on and on. Design an e-reader textbook that is competitive with others and offer it for a lot less than what Pearson, Prentice hall and others now charge for printed copies? Will you include features that make Textbook reading a “virtual” experience? Links accessed through text clicks, Video and audio links that are accessed the same way? Turn Learning into a real experience by re-defining “textbooks?”
How about collaborating with Wikipedia- one of the largest collaboration aggregators- for a series? (Call/e-mail/write to: Jimmy Wales, Founder. www.wikipedia.com). Wikipedia has also founded Wikiversity, the framework for the world’s largest Online college (http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Wikiversity:Main_Page). Microsoft, Google, are you there? Class? Can we hear a faint moaning building into howls of anguish in the monopoly marketplace? I hope I will. E-readers are a “disruptive technology” that is and will become part of the Convergence AAA marketplace (AnyThing, AnyTime, AnyWhere). College textbooks should be at the top of the list of things that e-readers can develop as a force for good in controlling college costs, and increasing the quality and quantity of education resources. Oh, and updating and reprinting is just a click away (“2012 Psychology Updates-$10.00-$20.00- Click Here”).
When common sense and economic logic don’t prevail, it is logical to determine that there is interference in the free marketplace. It will be interesting to see if the FTC gets involved in the textbook monopoly marketplace, but even if not, there is ample room for smart entrepreneurs to make a free-market Textbook delivery concept work. “Click Here.”