For decades, the school system hasn't just been about developing the minds of children, it's been dedicated to developing their muscles, as well, with those massive, thick, mandatory textbooks. But one school in New York is abandoning paper books and going all-digital.

Jim Fitzgerald reports for the AP:

At Archbishop Stepinac High School, the backpacks got a whole lot lighter this year because nearly every book — from freshman biology to senior calculus — is now digital, accessible on students' laptops and tablets.

The cost for textbooks at this all-boys school in White Plains, NY was around $600. It's dropped to around $150. That said, students are responsible for purchasing their own tablet or laptop.

Going digital is not inexpensive. Stepinac had to invest $1 million in infrastructure, including increased bandwidth. The expense has been a barrier in getting most multischool public districts to make the all-digital leap.

Social media and gaming sites are blocked, obviously, and the bandwidth is monitored to insure the boys aren't downloading movies for fun.


As someone who suffered from backaches after carrying tons of textbooks, the idea of an all-digital syllabus is attractive. That said, there's something cool about used textbooks with the names and notes of previous students inside. Archaeology! Messages from the past, the warmth of humanity, the feeling that someone was sitting where you were, touching what you were touching, a sneak peek into someone else's life. Can't get that from a screen. But I'm sure these kids' spines are thankful.

Image via Voronchikhina Ekaterina/Shutterstock.