Boise State will be participating in a national pilot program during fall semester to assist in the transition from traditional book form textbooks to e-textbooks.
The program is one of many which aim to make e-textbooks as helpful, accessible and economically sound as traditional textbooks. The pilot explores business models and technologies to make this possible.
The project is organized by Internet2 and EDUCAUSE, two organizations which focus on technology in higher education.
Greg Kannenberg, textbook manager for the Boise State Bookstore, explained there are numerous goals, which the bookstore hopes to achieve through the program.
“We want to move forward into the future with digital product. That is where the industry is going and we want to make sure we are still a player,” Kannenberg said. “We want to be able to figure out what our role will be in that industry.”
According to Kannenberg, it is only a matter of years before digital texts will be as cheap, if not cheaper, than traditional textbooks.
“We also want to try to reduce the cost of textbooks and course materials for students,” Kannenberg said. “Everyone thinks the bookstore is out to get money from students but that’s really not our goal. It’s to get the best deal we can and turn it into what’s best for the student.”
The bookstore will pay the cost of the e-textbook upfront and will be reimbursed through a course fee paid by students. Kannenberg stated the cost is actually more expensive than the fee.
“We understand we are going to take a bit of a loss on this, but we really think it’s worthwhile to figure out how we are going to do this in the future,” Kannenberg said.
Kerri Rager, mechanical engineering major, said she was conflicted when it came to digital textbooks.
“I liked it because you could search through it and mark it digitally and bookmark important information,” Rager said. “But I also didn’t like it because it was hard to have in class. I don’t own a Kindle or anything and it sucks for open book tests because teachers don’t want you to be on the Internet or anything.”
- Students can take notes within the textbook.
- Teachers and students can communicate through the textbook via the Internet.
- E-textbooks are still more expensive.
- Digital textbooks can’t be sold back or bought used.
- E-textbooks don’t have new book smell.