Louise Robinson, incoming president of the Girls' Schools Association, has claimed pupils are more inspired by the "magic" of using ipads and other tablet computers than reading a book.
Her comments come after figures showed Amazon now sells almost 2.5 books for its Kindle reading device for every one traditional book.
Mrs Robinson, the headmistress of Merchant Taylors' Girls' School in Crosby, Liverpool who becomes president of the GSA in the New Year, said the shift was having a knock-on effect in the classroom.
In an interview, she said: "Taking on board the fact that textbooks will be on your mobile, whatever shape, name or type of fruit your mobile relates to, and therefore anywhere, anytime, any place... it's going to be a huge possibility.
"But also, not only that, the fact that they'll be able to access anything they want to, in advance of your lesson, so if you say 'the next lesson's going to be on the skeleton' what you can see online now in terms of the skeleton and where you can go with it, makes children have far more control over their learning than they ever could do before.
One click and you're into another world.
"You and I wouldn't send a child into a library and say 'go and have a look', you'd actually help them, show them where the information is to access, and which bits they should be looking at for their age and stage," she said.
"But that doesn't stop them going 'I'd like to have a look at that one' and when you see a young child on their tablet, or internet, the magic that they are seeing in that information, the way that they absorb it and reflect it back at you is just wonderful."
Mrs Robinson added: "I can understand the concept that there's the smell of a very old book, I'm not going to throw them all on the bonfire at all.
"I do believe that there will be a time and a place for going in to look at an old book.
"But when you're doing class reading, why buy the hard copy?"
What do you think? Do your children still enjoy books or prefer the instant 'magic' of computers?