Schwarzenegger Seeks Switch to E-Textbooks

Paper is expensive, says governor; so are computers, say critics
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2009 10:17 AM CDT
In this Feb. 9, 2009 file photo, the Kindle 2 electronic reader is shown at an news conference in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, file)
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(Newser) – Arnold Schwarzenegger wants kids—and California’s budget—to stop lugging around paper textbooks, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The governator is advocating a switch to digital textbooks, in an effort to cut the $350 million the state spends on old-fashioned hardbound tomes each year. But critics worry that the cost of buying and maintaining more computers for schools will swiftly eat up any savings.

Critics say digital textbooks raise equality issues. “It’s a great idea and we’d love to go there,” said one superintendent. “But how is it going to work. Is the state going to give every child a Kindle?” Studies show 55% of Californians have broadband access at home, but the state’s schools have only one computer for every five children.