Educational Technology

April 27, 2012

E-textbooks should be much cheaper than the print options available to students–but they’re not

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

By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Many educators–as well as the feds and plenty of state governments–believe that the solution to high textbook costs lies with a shift to digital content. After all, if you eliminate the printing, the trucking, the warehousing, and all the other hassles related to physical inventory, you’re left with only the writing, production, development, and marketing. Surely that will bring down the prices students have to pay for curriculum? But if that were true, why hasn’t the digital-content pilot at Florida’s Daytona State College shown far greater savings? According to a report by the pilot’s researchers, “during three of the project’s four semesters, students enrolled in some of the e-text pilot sections paid only $1 less for rental of their e-texts than students who bought a printed book, due to publisher pricing decisions.” Worse, these students couldn’t sell their e-texts back to the campus bookstore like the owners of print books could, “which increased their disappointment.”

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