It turns out the folks at Apple aren't the only ones trying to make the push to digital textbooks — in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski state that the Obama administration has set a goal for getting digital textbooks in the hands of all students, and that goal is a very ambitious five years. The benefits of moving to digital are of course numerous, but Genachowski puts it well when discussing the flexibility of digital: "When they get to something they don’t know, the device can let them explore."
Wow: Moving to e-textbook-friendly schools within five years would have a huge impact on a bunch of different sectors. Would each student be issued a tablet? Would that tablet be an iPad? What would the DRM on those e-books be? Would this be essentially priming an entire generation to accept e-books as the "real" versions of books? Even if the five-years goal doesn't happen—that is a crazy ambitious goal—it seems that e-textbooks are the way the government is heading.