I have many thoughts on digital textbooks, and you have all had an opportunity to read them here. Apple has made their “big move” and I am both pleased to see digital moving forward, and also a bit concerned about what could become the “only” platform on campuses.
I actually presented a paper on the challenges of digital textbook pricing at the Western DSI (Decision Sciences Institute) conference in 2011. You can read the paper here. In that paper, I point out that by driving the logistics costs of moving, handling, and returning paper products out of the system, along with other costs such as maintaining a bookstore, one can drive the costs down to about (surprise!) $15.00 while maintaining the 2 year profits of the publisher. And by withdrawing the pressures of the resale market, the profits only go up from there.
Most recently I wrote about consumer driven markets. Who should make the choice? Digital textbooks are able separate the content from the medium, and allow flexibility–unless we are locked into a hardware platform. I also wrote about this in this post.
I would welcome other thoughts on those posts and on the paper.