Students and commuters have something to look forward to both in class and on the bus, train, or plane because of the ereader revolution.
The first digital nomads, students and freelance entrepreneurs have been mobile computing at Starbucks and other WiFi hotspots for years using first laptops, then smartphones like the iPhone, and now tablet computers, slates, and ereaders. Ereaders are primarily for reading books, but can read magazines and newspapers too, some free, some by subscription, and some by one-time purchases. Some ebook readers like Barne’s and Noble’s nook let you share ebooks using a feature called LendMe. Publishers have not been as willing to sign up for LendMe as much as users would hope, but that trend may change in the future. And now ereaders are starting to be able to do more than just read ebooks. For example, the Nook just got an upgrade to allow it to play games and surf the web, but Apple’s iPad is a computer with an ebook reader.
One can imagine that students going back to school this fall may have a completely different experience, one which may be missing one heavy staple from the past: textbooks. Instead of carrying large books around in a book bag, one could see students carrying nooks wrapped in their nook covers containing their nook ebooks. This would be quite a contrast, but will publishers buy into it and publish their textbooks in ebook form? Will students buy enough ebook readers to support it? Will schools and teachers allow the ebook readers in their classrooms? We won’t know for sure until later on this year.
Commuting: More Green Benefits
Not only do commuters help the environment and their wallet by sharing rides or riding public transportation, but they also help reduce the amount of paper and distribution cost of that paper when they choose an ebook over a traditional paper book. Car drivers everywhere, while they can come and go as they please, have higher costs from maintaining an automobile, create more pollution, and don’t get to relax with a newspaper, whether that newspaper be in paper form or as an ebook. Will subway trains be full of ebook readers in the future? What will people hide behind when they don’t want to look at the person across from them on the train, plane, or bus? Maybe they’ll all just get along a little better, and maybe share an ebook too.