Originally Posted by unboggling
Regarding tablet, I'd say hold off until after Christmas when prices may drop, and in meantime research differences between iPad, Androids, and Kindle Fire capabilities, quirks, and prices. An Android with more open file system might suit needs better and be less frustrating than iPad. I don't know much about Kindle Fire, but the smaller size and low price might suit better too. If required textbook formats are supported by readers available for that tablet. If a tablet is necessary at all. I'd rather study with paper textbooks personally, particularly in the sciences - lots of flipping back and forth.
What is frustrating about the iPad vs. Android/Kindle? The file system, or lack thereof, is something that, to me, makes it challenging as a computer replacement, but when supplemented with a computer, it ceases to be much of an issue.
Some devices may drop after Christmas, but the iPad probably will not. Traditionally their prices remain firm until a new version is released (so far new iPads have been released in the spring).
It's definitely worth seeing what's available and what devices support the available formats. It seems like Apple is pushing for their own platform-specific solutions. If they are successful, then an Android device might
limit available textbook options. At any rate, with Apple currently dominating the tablet market, it seems unlikely that many, if any, textbooks will be released in a format that's incompatible with the iPad.
Many of us are used to paper and are uncomfortable with the transition to digital, but that may not be as true for the younger generation. And page flipping is one area where I love an ebook. Some books with endnotes have not been converted well, but when they have, the ability to flip back and forth is much better in the digital format.
Assuming someone is comfortable with digital over print, then it's worth doing price comparisons of the formats. I believe some digital versions come in considerably cheaper then their print counterparts. Given the high cost of textbooks, this could make the effective price of the tablet less then the actual price once you factor in savings on textbooks. That's something to look into and keep in mind before school starts.