Electronic Textbooks Finally

Novels and newspapers especially have been moving briskly from paper to pixels, with textbooks having yet to find the perfect electronic home. They are readable on laptops and smartphones, but the displays can be seriously eye-taxing due to the nature of textbooks. Even dedicated e-readers with their crisp printlike displays have trouble handling textbook staples like color illustrations or videos and Web-linked supplements that publishers are increasingly supplying.

But there is now a new approach that may adapt well to textbook pages: two-screen e-book readers with a traditional e-paper display on one screen and a liquid-crystal display on the other side, in order to render graphics like science animations in color. These dual screens are linked by a central processor so that, for example, a link on the e-paper display can proceed to open on the color screen.

The best example is a two-screen device called the eDGe, which will be released by enTourage Systems in February for $490, said Doug Atkinson, vice president of marketing and business development for the company, based in McLean, Va.

Electronic textbooks could one day offer a more convenient way to study, literally lightening student’s loads. This has already happened at Catholic University of America in Washington. There, Robert A. Destro, a professor of law and his students are testing a version of the eDGe. Professor Destro has 13 textbooks on his device. Courtesy of nytimes.com

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