I think it is likely to happen, although I am not sure how soon we will completely eradicate printed textbooks. It’s a very drastic change. We do have technology with e-readers and tablet computers that is making it easier to switch to ebooks; this could be a way to keep textbook prices from continually rising, too. Amazon recently announced that its ebook sales have passed conventional book sales; it seems like only a matter of time before ebooks take over completely.
“ever” is a long long time.
Hmm, I think there’s definitely a possibility that it could happen as the gradual shift to ereaders, etc. continues. However, I don’t think anything’s going to happen any time soon. It’s tough because a lot of people need the book physically in front of them or like to take notes in the margins or highlight, etc. While I try my best to use as little paper as I can, I feel that I can much better focus and get more out of a reading if I have a physical copy of the book in front of me that I can mark up and highlight. That’s just me, though.
There’s a very strong economic incentive — nobody likes paying exorbitant prices for textbooks. However, if it does happen, it will be a long time in the future — the college textbook industry hasn’t yet made any push to diminish their potential for profits. I think it would take subsidy to make the economics of it work.
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