Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Textbook downloads...

A bonus posting today, since I was unable to get to posting content earlier in the week...

Another article appeared this week, touting open access textbooks and other options for getting textbooks in digital format. This weeks' piece appeared in Sunday's New York times. It covers much of the same ground as other pieces: Flat World Knowledge, Connexions, and CourseSmart all received coverage. The one piece I did find interesting was based on a quote from Frank Lyman at CourseSmart who noted:

[Lyman] said that tens of thousands of textbooks have been read online and that 1,240 separate institutions have a student who has made at least one e-textbook purchase.
Over 1200 institutions with at least one student purchasing a digital textbook. That's an interesting number. One can probably assume those are via CourseSmart, so the number may actually be larger than that when you consider all the ways students can get digital textbooks today. That makes for fairly good odds that digital is penetrating to a larger number of campus communities, whether or not the stores provide the content. Sales are still weak, but each year they appear to be getting better. It will be interesting to see the numbers for this content category if IDPF or another source is able to start reporting them at some point.

It was also interesting to note the absence of any mention of the Student PIRG study on textbooks and their conclusion that many of the digital options available may not save students money when the total cost of ownership is calculated.

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