Students show their schedule and receive an iPad (or e-reader of some sort) preloaded with the books they need. At the end of the semester, students turn in their iPad, or take it in to be reloaded, with the new semester’s books. The school would own the devices, eliminating the question of whether students can afford them.
I know there are a lot of questions about such a plan and I don’t have all the answers, yet the idea intrigues me. Would they be affordable for schools and school districts? Well, having purchased textbooks for our department for many years, textbook prices are now around $100 per book. If ebooks cost significantly less per unit, then the money for e-readers could be absorbed from the savings. Repairs for broken e-readers. I’m not sure how to handle that one. Just food for thought.