By Sam Rosenthal

College in the iPad Age

Today is my first day of my senior year at USC and I can hardly believe it!

Today is also the second time I have started a school year without paper textbooks.  Instead of a stuffed backpack I solely bring my iPad to class, loaded with all of my notes, textbooks, class schedules, and so on so forth.  I entered college with a stuffed backpack and I am leaving with a tiny tablet as my primary tool for education.  What a remarkable world we live in.

While it is refreshing that most textbooks and course readings are available digitally, I do wish the digital distribution of these books was a little more elegant.  Most are priced similarly to their physical counterparts (something Apple is hoping to solve) and are still a pain to locate.  While we no longer have to aimlessly wander the halls of our school bookstore, we still have to find each book individually and ensure that we have the proper edition.

I hope for solution in which schools and book sellers are more closely intertwined.  Imagine if e-book sellers (Apple, Amazon, etc.) offered a way for professors to create book lists based on their course requirements.  The sellers could then distribute codes to the professors that the professors would then distribute to their students to purchase the entire bundle of e-books at a discounted price.  Ultimately it may even increase textbook sales since a) the convenience of e-book bundles would lead to more impulse buys from students and b) e-book sales cannibalize the used book sales market.

Anyway, these are just a few high level concepts I was toying with this morning while preparing for class.  Let me know what you think!