ebooks flunk

Amy pointed this study out to me, done by the ACM (the professional organization of Computer Science, which happens to be my field), which points out that ebooks fail as textbooks. Which should surprise no one.

A great quote:

But schools may want to pause before jumping on the e-textbook bandwagon. This morning, at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Vancouver, a team of researchers from the University of Washington, led by doctoral student Alex Thayer, is presenting the results of a year-long study of student reading, and the findings suggest that e-readers may be deeply flawed as replacements for traditional textbooks. Students find the devices cumbersome to use, ill-suited to their study routines, and generally underwhelming. Paper textbooks, it seems, may not be quite as obsolete as they appear.

Essentially, we have so many modes of reading while studying that ebooks just can’t handle it. We lose our ability to process from multiple books simultaneously, our ability to make deep cognitive maps of the book as a physical object, and so on.

Down with ebooks. Up with paper!