The changing world of textbooks

24 Nov

As the cost of a college education rises, everyone is looking at ways to reduce cost so that more students are not priced out of a college education. Allen Grove has a good article at About.Com which gives some reasons for Why College Books Cost So Much? There are ways to cut down the cost associated with college text books. If possible, one can buy used texts. Another way to cut costs is to rent texts. Rhiana Jones’ article Top Three Online Sites to Rent College Texts At a Discount compares three text rental sites. Paul Michael has some tips for going online to find discounted texts at How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks

Christopher F. Schuetze is reporting in the New York Times article, Textbooks Finally Take a Big Leap to Digital:

Amazon, which got its start selling books online, announced this year that, for the first time, its digital books had outsold paper books. This trend of going digital does not hold true for all books: While many popular consumer books have successfully made the switch into the new format, textbooks are still widely read on paper….

Digital textbooks are any books that can be downloaded to an e-reader or computer or those that can be read online using a Web browser. While no one keeps precise numbers of digital textbook sales globally, a number of companies have seen similar growth patterns and nearly identical market share.

According to the Student Monitor, a private student market research company based in New Jersey, about 5 percent of all textbooks acquired in the autumn in the United States were digital textbooks. That is more than double the 2.1 percent of the spring semester.

Simba Information, a research company specializing in publishing, estimates that electronic textbooks will generate $267.3 million this year in sales in the United States. That is a rise of 44.3 percent over last year. The American Association of Publishers estimates that the college textbooks industry generated a total of $4.58 billion in sales last year….

Students say digital rentals can be good and bad.

It was cheaper than actually buying the book,” said Rebecca Johnson, a senior at George Mason University, who bought her first electronic textbook during her junior year. She paid about 50 percent less for her digital textbook, which she bought directly from the publisher. But she pointed out that the digital version was not permanent.

You have it for that class time, but you don’t have it forever,” Ms. Johnson said. Her textbook expired 180 days after she purchased it.

Jill Ambrose, the chief marketing officer at CourseSmart, says sections of rental books can often be printed off and kept. Also, most publishers will make the printed version of the textbook available at a big discount to students who have purchased the digital version.

For some students, the limited-time access can represent a real downside to digital books.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/24/world/americas/schoolwork-gets-swept-up-in-rush-to-go-digital.html?emc=eta1

The biggest downside to renting seems to be access to material after the rental period has expired unless a new fee is paid. Also, there are technology issues for users who do not access the material in a linear manner, but instead jump around in the use of the material.

Cristian Salazar of the Washington Post reports that initial results from test projects of college textbook rentals may not be promising. In the article, College Textbook Rental Pilot Might Not Be Making The Grade Seems like institutional barriers to entry and to reform, as well as a calcified culture are prevalent in the textbook rental market, just like in many areas of education.

The U.S. Congress has conducted a study of text book pricing:

Study on the Affordability of College Textbooks

·         TURN THE PAGE: MAKING COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS MORE AFFORDABLE, MAY 2007 PDF

·         Congressional Letter Authorizing Textbook Study PDF

·         Textbook Study Fact Sheet PDF

·         An Economic Analysis of Textbook Pricing and Textbook Markets by Dr. James V. Koch PDF

·         A Generational Opportunity: A 21st Century Learning Content Delivery System, By Mr. Patrick McElroy PDF

·         US Government Accountability Office Report: College Textbooks, July 2005 PDF

·         Table of State Legislation Pertaining to Textbook Affordability, 2004-2007 MS Word

Textbook Study Hearing Information Contact the Committee: ACSFA@ed.gov
Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance

The publishing world is evolving.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “The changing world of textbooks”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts? « drwilda - August 12, 2012

    […] As the cost of a college education rises, everyone is looking at ways to reduce cost so that more students are not priced out of a college education. Allen Grove has a good article at About.Com which gives some reasons for Why College Books Cost So Much?There are ways to cut down the cost associated with college text books. If possible, one can buy used texts. Another way to cut costs is to rent texts. Rhiana Jones’ article Top Three Online Sites to Rent College Texts At a Discount compares three text rental sites. Paul Michael has some tips for going online to find discounted texts at How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/the-changing-world-of-textbooks/ […]

  2. A textbook ain’t what it used to be « drwilda - February 4, 2013

    […] As the cost of a college education rises, everyone is looking at ways to reduce cost so that more students are not priced out of a college education. Allen Grove has a good article at About.Com which gives some reasons for Why College Books Cost So Much?There are ways to cut down the cost associated with college text books. If possible, one can buy used texts. Another way to cut costs is to rent texts. Rhiana Jones’ article Top Three Online Sites to Rent College Texts At a Discount compares three text rental sites. Paul Michael has some tips for going online to find discounted texts at How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks https://drwilda.com/2011/11/24/the-changing-world-of-textbooks/ […]

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