Tag Archives: Electronic Textbook

Why textbooks cost so much

19 Aug

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? http://collegeapps.about.com/od/payingforcollege/f/college-books-cost.htm The Economist wrote in the article, Why textbooks cost so much:

STUDENTS can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteenfold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart).
Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves…
But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold…. http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21612200-its-economics-101-why-textbooks-cost-so-much?fsrc=email_to_a_friend

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 https://suite.io/rhiana-jones/3v8p2sv 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 http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-cheapest-college-textbooks

The Affordable College Textbook Act has been kicking around Congress for a few years. SPARC summarizes the provisions:

The Affordable College Textbook Act seeks to expand the use of open textbooks on college campuses, providing affordable alternatives to traditional textbooks and keeping prices lower. The bill:
• Creates a grant program to support pilot programs at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for those programs that will achieve the highest savings for students.
• Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using program funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public.
• Requires entities who receive funds to complete a report on the effectiveness of the program in achieving savings for students.
• Improves existing requirements for publishers to make all textbooks and other educational materials available for sale individually rather than as a bundle.
• Requires the Government Accountability Office to provide an updated report on the price trends of college textbooks to Congress by 2017.
Supporters: SPARC, U.S. PIRG, National Association of College Stores, National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees, OUR TIME, Creative Commons, OpenCourseWare Consortium. – See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/act#sthash.hdtGL4DP.dpuf http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/act

Passage of the act might help many, but its passage is not assured.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy wrote in the Money Watch article, College Textbooks: 7 Ways to Save Money:

Before you shop for college textbooks, here are my seven tips to find the cheapest textbooks around:
1. Comparison shop.
You can use BIGWORDS.com and Campusbooks.com, which are textbook aggregators, that can direct you to college textbook sellers are offering the lowest prices. BIGWORDS, for instance, aggregates all the web’s options on any book, whether new, used or rentals. Two popular places for textbooks are Half.com and Amazon.
2. Use old editions.
You will often be able to pick up some old editions of textbooks super cheap and sometimes for pennies on the dollar. The content in the 5th edition of a chemistry book versus the 7th edition could be inconsequential. Ask your professors if you aren’t sure about buying an old textbook.
3. Consider renting textbooks.
The big gorilla in the textbook rental market is Chegg. Other competitors include BookRenter.com and CampusBookRental.com. ValoreBooks offers free shipping for rentals over $20. Some campus bookstores are also renting textbooks to students.
Renting won’t always be cheaper than buying a used copy — particularly if you can resell the college book, but it can be a godsend if you’re strapped for cash. Check prices.
4. Look for coupons.
Before you buy textbooks online, see if you can find a promotional coupon. Check out CouponWinner.com, PromoCodes.com and PromotionalCodes.com.
5. Share a book.
My daughter, who is a college senior, has done this in the past. She’s shared textbooks with one or two of her friends and saved big bucks.
6. Try international editions of books.
According to Textbooksrus.com, it’s possible to save 75% on international editions of textbooks.
7. Look for books before school starts.
According to a new federal law, textbook publishers must provide students with the list of required textbooks during registration. You’ll have more options if you don’t wait until you arrive at school to order. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/college-textbooks-7-ways-to-save-money/

The cost of textbooks is just one of the costs associated with going to college. See, Tuition is only the beginning of college costs https://drwilda.com/2013/08/15/tuition-is-only-the-beginning-of-college-costs/

Resources:

Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying
http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Get-Savvier-About/136827/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

For Many Students, Print Is Still King
http://chronicle.com/article/For-Many-Students-Print-Is/136829/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Affordable College Textbook Act Would Help Students, But Publishers Aren’t Hearing It http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2014/03/affordable_college_textbook_ac.php

Related:

Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?
https://drwilda.com/2012/08/12/are-open-source-textbooks-becoming-a-viable-alternative-to-traditional-texts/

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/17/could-open-source-textbooks-be-cheaper-than-traditional-textbooks/

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Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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Ryerson University Study: Some students are resisting to switch to e-texts

25 Feb

Moi is not the only OLD FART in existence. It seems some students are resisting the change to digital or e-texts. Rich Diehl writes in the Techcitement article, Studies Claim Students Prefer Traditional Paper Textbooks Over E-texts:

All of this begs the question, if e-books are cheaper than paper books, let alone more useful for allowing students to access them at will and have the added benefits of searchable text with other ancillaries, why is it that students not only don’t want them, but are going to some lengths to actively avoid them?

The answer seems to be that just possibly, at least in the case of education, the good old paper book retains several advantages over e-books that continue to make them a better tool for education. Despite the initial higher price paper books are seen as a better value for students.

Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, and Bettina West of Canada’s Ryerson University have published “The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks”, the results of a study looking into the continuing resistance toward e-texts in the fall 2012 issue of the Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education. Their study indicates that despite the supposed advantages of e-books, a large  majority of students participating in the study found paper texts preferable for studying. For the technology minded, the claims made by the study participants might seem counter-intuitive, yet the results consistently had subjects stating that paper texts were superior for highlighting, adding notes, bookmarking, and most surprisingly, search, which are all functions that e-books tout as reasons the platform is superior.

Another surprising finding is that the vast majority of subjects stated that the use of e-text was inconvenient compared to paper. Claiming that they felt constrained by the requirements for a specific brand of reader, the need for special software, and mentioned most often, the need for a power source, students consistently stated they felt that they had more control over their learning experience with paper then they did with e-text.

The Ryerson study also supports the conclusions of several other recent reports on the use of e-texts including Sheila O’Hare and Andrew Smith’s 2012 study for the Kansas Library Association of College and University Libraries, “The Customer is Always Right? Resistance from College Students to E-Books as Textbooks”.  O’Hare and Smith’s studies indicates that the brain processes how we read and learn from paper differently than we do for e-text. Research shows that in the case of paper, students tend to completely read a page, while in the case of e-text, the text is read more sporadically, with the student “dipping” into the text instead of full immersion. http://techcitement.com/hardware/tablet/studies-claim-students-prefer-traditional-paper-textbooks-over-e-texts/#.USxelvKjZPQ

See, Study: College Students Resist Idea of Switching to E-Books http://www.educationnews.org/technology/study-college-students-resist-idea-of-switching-to-e-books/

Citation:

Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, Bettina West

The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks

Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, Volume 20, Issue 3, Fall 2012

http://www.mmaglobal.org/JAME-Archive/JAME_Vol20_3/The%20Surprising%20Foil%20to%20Online%20Education%20Why%20Students%20won%27t%20give%20up%20Paper%20Textbooks.pdf

Moi wrote in A textbook ain’t what it used to be:

Jeffrey R. Davis writes in TheChronicle of Higher Education article, The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook:

Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn’t even be called “textbooks.” They’re really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook was able to be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn’t administer the test themselves.

One publisher calls its products “personalized learning experiences,” another “courseware,” and one insists on using its own brand name, “MindTap.” For now, this new product could be called “the object formerly known as the textbook….”

Amid all this change, the lines separating publisher, professor, university, and software company are blurring: The blockbuster textbooks of tomorrow could be produced not by publishers but directly by universities, maybe with the help of MOOC companies like Coursera or Udacity. http://chronicle.com/article/Dont-Call-Them-Textbooks/136835/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

Similar:

Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Get-Savvier-About/136827/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

For Many Students, Print Is Still King http://chronicle.com/article/For-Many-Students-Print-Is/136829/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

https://drwilda.com/2013/02/04/a-textbook-aint-what-it-used-to-be/

All one can say is that the question is not what will happen to the textbook, but where is information delivery to students going and what will be the format or formats.

Related:

Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?                                                                     https://drwilda.com/2012/08/12/are-open-source-textbooks-becoming-a-viable-alternative-to-traditional-texts/

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?                                                              https://drwilda.com/2012/01/17/could-open-source-textbooks-be-cheaper-than-traditional-textbooks/

Where information leads to Hope. ©                 Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                          http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                               http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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