Sunday, March 3, 2013

iPads, E-Textbooks a Potent Combo on College Campuses

Cheap e-textbooks are slowly making their way to colleges, but e-book savings are only one of many good reasons for undergrads to be packing an iPad.

If a 16GB Wifi-only iPad costs $500, and a student spends $1,000 per year on printed textbooks while recouping 16 percent on the sellback, and an e-textbook costs 60 percent less than a printed textbook but lacks sellback, and only 32 percent of a college's textbooks are e-textbooks, how long before the iPad pays for itself?

Answer: It'll take you around three-and-a-half years to recoup the cost of the iPad solely from e-textbook savings.

Hopefully, time to return on investment will shorten as more universities and educational publishers get on board with e-textbooks. One of the universities leading the charge is the University of Indiana, which just announced that nearly 10,000 students are using e-textbooks this spring semester.

"IU has long saved students money by negotiating favorable pricing for software, and it is natural to negotiate favorable pricing for digital textbooks to reduce the costs of attendance," said University of Indiana's CIO and Vice President for IT Brad Wheeler.

The University of Indiana began piloting e-textbooks four years ago. The spring semester now has 250 course sections using e-textbooks, which the university claims results in $200,000 in collective savings. Best of all, University of Indiana students won't have to stuff a backpack with a bunch of heavy books and lug them around campus.


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