James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

e-texts coming?

Posted on | March 25, 2011 | No Comments

Sure there are a variety of services out there that are offering e-textbook services.

But so far the penetration of e-books is a little reminiscent of the VHS vs BETA days.

Nobody has really come to the plate with an easy, affordable, audience catching model.

So what is the e-textbook thing all about? Here is the primer.

The difference in cost between an eTextbook and the equivalent print book can be large (one of the major eTextbook providers, CourseSmart, promises savings of up to 50%).

And here’s some other benefits to getting your textbook as an ebook.

eTextbooks can be less expensive to buy or rent. An ebook can cost significantly less than the print book. And there are often ebook rental options, for example from www.ecampus.com, which bring the cost down still further.

Search is an essential tool.

Searching an eTextbook is far faster and easier than thumbing through a print book’s index.

An eTextbook is accessible anywhere.

With downloaded eTextbooks, you can carry your entire library with you on your own laptop or ebook reader; with online eTextbooks, you can access your library from any computer with an Internet connection.

Easy printing of thesections you need


Why lug the whole textbook with you if you only need a few pages?
Purchase just one chapter You can often buy just the single chapter of the textbook you need. Why buy the whole book if you don’t need to?
Easy Access to Related Materials An eTextbook can contain the embedded links to related materials in online libraries and websites that we now take for granted.



One of the 1st aggregators of e-text books is coursesmart.

And now the New York Times is talking about a couple of the big publishers wanting to join the game, I guess the writing is on the wall!

So the big guys are coming out fighting!

Inkling currently has 14 textbooks available from publishers like John Wiley & Sons and W.W. Norton. Pearson and McGraw-Hill have committed to add to that number. Pearson plans to make two dozen of its M.B.A. textbooks available along with a number of undergraduate arts and sciences books, marking the first time the company will sell books through Inkling. McGraw-Hill, which has a handful of books available on the service, will add its Top 100 college titles plus some medical and reference books.

In all, Inkling expects to have nearly 100 textbook available by the fall.

“This is not some pilot program on the part of the publishers, but a real commitment to build their business forward,” said Matt MacInnis, Inkling’s chief executive.

The question has to be can old school faculty be convinced to move to e-texts and can students be persuaded to jump onboard?

Is this the end of used textbooks?

What I imagine is a world where every teacher can





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