Are classrooms prepared for e-textbooks?
Education publishers are trying to use algorithms to evolve the textbook.
Jeremy Hobson: Apple is holding an event in New York today, and analysts are expecting the company to announce it's jumping into the electronic textbook market.
But e-books in the classroom aren't for everyone, as Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports.
Eve Troeh: It's one thing to read "Ulysses" on your Kindle for English Lit, says Jeff Young at the Chronicle of Higher Education. But students tell him it's a much different thing to use an e-reader for Principles of Accounting.
Jeff Young: The tables with all these numbers and fine print. The font was too small. It was a miserable experience.
He says pilot programs around the country have shown students vastly prefer hard-copy textbooks -- to highlight and take notes, above all. But also just to stay on the same page.
Eric Weil: Literally. You're going to say 'Turn to page 159.'
Eric Weil heads the research firm Student Monitor.
Weil: Well, 159 in the printed text isn't necessarily 159 in the e-text.
Because there's no standard platform to convert, format or distribute e-textbooks. Dan Turner at the University of Washington says digital academia won't take off until there is.
Dan Turner: I think we're all waiting for some player to come along that puts together that whole ecosystem.
One player like Apple? The multi-billion-dollar textbook industry will find out tomorrow.
I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.