I am reproducing this post from the teleread blog, thanks Paul!
Flat World, the publisher of commercial open source college textbooks, had partnered with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and NACS Media Solutions to distribute their textbooks to over 3,000 college bookstores for the fall semester.
These are pilot programs and will launch in August. The average cost of a Flat Word textbook is $29.95 which, they say, is 75% lower than most conventional textbooks. The bookstores will receive digital files and the college instructors can then remix, reorder and add content. The stores than will use POD to provide paper copies.
(sp) I saw a presentation from FlatWorld at the TOC conference and discussed them in my top 10 takeaways from the conference. They have an interesting business model, I’ll be anxious to see if they find success at the college bookstores.
Seton Hill, a private Catholic University in PA, has found an interesting way to recruit new students – a free iPad and MacBook for incoming first year students in Fall 2010. Called the Griffin Technology Advantage, the program is designed to provide top notch technology to students for 24 hour learning opportunities in order to “think outside of the classroom.” Students will be given a new laptop after 2 years, one they can keep after graduating. Interesting that the announcement made no mention of eBooks or textbooks. Hopefully they are part of the master plan!
I’m way behind on posting links to articles I’ve bookmarked in delicious. There’s been so much activity in the industry these last few weeks that I can’t keep up. So, here is a long list of things I’ve found from the past month.
Expect to find print on demand textbooks and other academic and trade titles available for POD in college bookstores very soon. From a press release, “NACS Media Solutions (NMS), a
subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) and On Demand Books LLC (ODB), the maker of the Espresso Book Machine® (EBM), have entered into a joint agreement
whereby NMS will market the EBM to the collegiate marketplace and permission academic content for distribution throughout the worldwide network of EBMs.” No word on pricing. Thanks to Teleread for the info.
Earlier this week I attended the O’Reilly Tools of Change (TOC) Conference for the first time. Over 1250 attendees gathered in New York City to discuss and network about issues and trends in publishing, in particular, digital publishing. While much of the information presented was for the publishing industry, I did manage to find several great ideas and concepts that relate to libraries. I’d like to share these with you, in no apparent order. Continue reading
Tools of Change Conference – Future of Digital Textbooks, Feb. 23 10:45- 11:30
Speakers: John Warren (Moderator) , Eric Frank, Flatworld Knowledge; Frank Lyman, CourseSmart; Nicholas Smith, Agile Mind; and Neeru Khosle, CK12 Foundation
- What is your company doing?
- What challenge or problem are you trying to solve?
- Give an example of a successful business model and conversely, ones that don’t work.
- How will digital textbooks be consumed?
For the last 7 years the New Media consortium and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative have collaborated on the Horizon Report. The report identifies key trends in higher education, critical challenges, and selects 6 technologies to watch. Ebooks have made the top 6 technologies, in the mid-term horizon, which means 2 – 3 years for widespread adoption. The study indicates that 3 obstacles to ebook adoption in higher education are now falling away – availability of titles, capability of readers, and problematic publishing models. According to the report, more publishers are releasing textbook content electronically, ebook readers now have the ability to display graphics, bookmark, annotate, and more, and business models are changing to allow the purchase of the e without the p (and e is simultaneously being released with p).
The report sites several examples of ebooks in practice including the Penn State SONY project, Darden’s KINDLE project, DeepDyve, and Sophie.
Interesting article in the NYT today about Barnes & Noble’s textbook rental program. According to the article, textbooks can be rented from college bookstores for about 42% of the retail price. B & N piloted the program last year in a few schools, it has now been expanded to 25 campuses. Renting textbooks isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s picked up in popularity due to federal grants for bookstores to start rental programs (to combat the high cost of textbooks). Cengage and Chegg.com are also options. Are you allowed to highlight and write in the rented books I wonder? If this takes off, how might this impact the regularity of new editions? Unfortunately, it only offers an option to students, renting. It doesn’t get to the heart of the matter, which is the high cost of the book.
Here in Ohio we experimented with leasing e-textbooks from CourseSmart. It didn’t work out so well because the program has been canceled. Students just aren’t ready to embrace the e-textbook, they want “a real book.”
I sat in on the EDUCAUSE webinar today on the eTextbook pilot project at NW Missouri State University. Some background:
NWMS University has been purchasing textbooks for their students for the last 100 years! They also provide notebook PC’s to students for a rather small fee. Testing the eTextbook plan with the SONY Reader was the logical next step. The pilot was last Fall. The campus library is a separate function on campus, they were not involved in this project. The presenters will be speaking at the EDUCAUSE conference in Denver this fall. Continue reading