Publishing for the K-12 school market is an $8 billion industry, with three companies - McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - capturing about 85% of this market.  Tablets are a $35 billion industry with roughly one in three adults owning a tablet.  As tablets have become more prevalent, a new debate has formed over whether K-12 school districts should switch from print textbooks to digital textbooks on tablets and e-readers.
Proponents of tablets say that they are supported by most teachers and students, are much lighter than print textbooks, and improve standardized test scores. They say that tablets can hold hundreds of textbooks, save the environment by lowering the amount of printing, increase student interactivity and creativity, and that digital textbooks are cheaper than print textbooks. (Click to enlarge image)
Summary of reader attitudes towards print books and e-books. Source: Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Reading Habits Survey, "The Rise of E-Reading," libraries.pewinternet.org, Apr. 4, 2012
Opponents of tablets say that they are expensive, too distracting for students, easy to break, and costly/time-consuming to fix. They say that tablets contribute to eyestrain, headaches, and blurred vision, increase the excuses available for students not doing their homework, require costly Wi-Fi networks, and become quickly outdated as new technologies are released.
2012 marks the first time that more people accessed the Internet via smartphones and tablets than desktop or laptop computers.  By Aug. 2012, 25 percent of US adults owned a tablet computer, 19 percent owned an e-book reader, and 29 percent owned one or the other, according to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.  Analysts estimate that by 2015 more than 33% of the United States will own a tablet. An analysis from JP Morgan Chase estimates that "tablets will evolve into a $35 billion market by 2012, posting 171.8 percent...
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