Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ames Tribune > ISU Bookstore To Offer e-Textbooks

ISU Bookstore To Offer e-Textbooks /  Ames Tribne / December 31 2010 4:36 PM CST / pp. 1, 4 / Laura Millsaps

Joining a national trend toward electronic textbook use, the Iowa State University Bookstore will offer electronic versions of 230 titles for the spring semester.


The bookstore is offering the electronic textbooks through the Universal Digital Textbook program by MBS, a national textbook wholesaler. Students will purchase a scanned e-book card which authorizes them to download the title on MBS’ e-textbook website.


The e-textbooks will cost between 30 percent and 55 percent of the cost of a new traditional textbook. Some e-textbooks will be available for permanent purchase, and others will be essentially “digital rentals,” with the purchase price giving the student access to the book for six months to a year.

Charles Schmidt, director of public relations for the National Association of College Stores, said that e-textbooks represent 2.8 percent of course material sales nationwide today. The association expects that number to grow to 10 percent to 15 percent by 2012.


Additionally, despite the popularity of e-readers in the general market, college students are not buying into the trend. The National Association of College Stores study found students are reading e-books on a computer rather than a dedicated e-reading device.


Part of the problem is the lack of features on e-readers.

“I think we will see a slow steady growth of e-textbooks over time,” Wierson said. “Once e-readers develop to a point they allow students to highlight text and make notes, once they have ones that are more interactive and will appeal more to the needs of college students, that will help e-textbooks sales take off.”

 Schmidt agreed technology hasn’t quite made digital reading accessible for the way college students study.


Schmidt said that as the medium improves, electronic textbooks gradually will take precedence.

“We don’t feel that the hard copy of the print textbook will ever go away totally,” he said, “but we foresee it taking a more secondary role.”



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