From 30 Pounds to 10.3 Ounces: Tomorrow's Textbooks

However, according iSuppli's teardown price analysis of the Kindle 2, the device costs about $185 to produce, and that's only for the standard version, which does not have the ability to run textbook-size pages or graphics. That would require the Kindle DX, which has a retail price $190 over that of the standard version.

The proposal was co-authored by Blair Levin, who served with Freedman as a member of the Obama-Biden transition team as part of the Technology, Innovation, and Government Reform Policy Working Group. Levin and Freedman first discussed the plan while helping to craft Obama administration policy. The idea, though not specifically discussed during the transition, was formulated by Levin and fellow group member Tom Wheeler.

Despite the detailed figures and cost breakdown listed in the proposal, Freedman claims that the purpose of the paper is simply to begin a talk on technology in this classroom. "The educational tendency is not to embrace change," said Freedman.

The average publication date of a public school textbook in New York is 1986, according to the New York Library Association.

The Kindle, or other electronic reading devices that may emerge, would provide the ability to quickly and easily update educational materials, a notion new to the publishing industry. "When there's a change, you will have the ability to adopt new material," said the author.

The DLC's proposal hopes to address the issue on a national scale. The proposed program would guarantee that not only students in wealthy districts receive the educational aids. "We want to make sure they help disadvantaged students," said Freedman.

The proposal also suggests a trial run at introducing the devices on a small scale -- 400,000 students at a time -- to judge effectiveness. "We should learn what works," said Freedman.

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