The research reported in this paper aims to obtain a better understanding of the factors influencing the adoption of tablet-based e-textbooks by focusing on a pilot project in which e-textbooks loaded onto tablets was used to supplement formal classroom learning in a South African private school. The research adopts Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as the theoretical framework of analysis and interpretative case study research as a research method. Several factors were identified that may have influenced the adoption of e-textbooks in the aforementioned environment (activity system) including tablet robustness, infrastructure, features afforded by the tablets and the e-books, user age, training and knowledge sharing, and expectation management. Factors that may have to be considered for tablet-based e-textbooks to be implemented at a disadvantaged school in South Africa are discussed – the availability of electricity, security and student safety, infrastructure, and teacher skills. It is recognised that e-textbook technology might contribute towards addressing the skills shortage in the South African educational environment.