E-Textbooks May Not Make Economic Sense for Students … or Do They???



Filed under digital publishing, technology

6 responses to “E-Textbooks May Not Make Economic Sense for Students … or Do They???

  1. As a student myself, I would seriously consider buying a Kindle for the sole purpose of storing all my textbooks.

    The weird thing is I can’t imagine myself reading novels on a device such as the Kindle. For some reason I value the physical collection of a library however when it comes to textbooks they serve a distinct functional purpose. I can honestly say I don’t look at my pile of dusty textbooks with nostalgia.

    If I could make more efficient notes, highlight key points and organise the data more efficiently, I can’t see why I would stick to the hard copy. The way I study is by reading and highlighting the textbook and then typing those notes onto a pc and amalgamating them with my lecture notes. You will be hard pressed to find a student in any lecture hall in North America without a laptop. Everything in the modern student’s life is managed electronically; this is simply an efficient evolution of the way students are already studying.

    Aside from the functional benefits, when was the last time you had to lug around a couple of those humongous textbooks?

    Give it 5 years I think e-textbooks will constitute a significant share of e-reader sales. Not only is it more efficient but it is also practical. If I could carry one device that can take notes and contain everything I need for my days classes without lugging around a couple pounds on my back I am sold.

  2. 100% agree with Dave and Daniel. To me the key is like using any other resource, effeciency. Out of all the pages in that box of old text books sitting in your closet, how many pages did you actually read/use!? If you REALLY need it on paper, print it (even better if it is on recycled textbook paper)… the rest can collect dust on your hard drive.

  3. Thank you for the update. The fact that Amazon will not be releasing the much anticipated student version of the Kindle is a huge blow to the so called ‘ebook revolution’ in my mind… we will have to see how this plays out. Thank you!

  4. Mark Majurey

    Dave — thanks for the kind words about T&F. We are, more and more, trying to find alternative models that will work for both publishers and students. One model I am sure is worth exploring for students is the ebook rental market. Downloads are great if you want to keep the book forever, but for many students the textbook has a very limited lifespan. Mostly one year, sometimes even a single semester. We offer rental periods from one day to one year which works out cheaper than buying the book to keep. So although there’s no second-hand ebook market, we hope to be able to make it less costly to sell content to students in the first place.

    As for the Kindle Student edition, only if the product can support text highlighting, searching, reference linking, and embedded annotations would it be of real use to students. And with the current e-ink screen technology, that’s not going to be anytime soon!

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