Educational Technology

August 30, 2011

The Secondary Cost of Digital

Filed under: Educational Technology — admin @ 12:35 am

by Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed

In recent years, the focus on digital has been eclipsed by a surge in print textbook rentals. Companies such as and — along with thousands of campus bookstores — have captured students who would prefer to consolidate the process of buying and then reselling textbooks into a single exchange at the outset of the semester. According to Student Monitor, 24 percent of students at four-year institutions rented at least one print textbook last spring — three times as many as purchased an e-textbook. But recent search data from Google suggest that digital textbooks may prove to be a contender this year. According to the company, Web queries for “Kindle textbooks” are up 60 percent from this time last year. Same goes for “Nook textbooks.” Searches for “iPad textbooks” are up 40 percent. Whether or not students are buying e-textbooks this year, they seem to be shopping for them. So what happens when the digital and rental trends overlap?

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