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, May 7, 2009

The Coming Coaster Ride for College Stores…

You know that feeling where the roller coaster comes to the top of the first big incline and is about to drop, but you can’t quite see over the edge yet? The fear? The anticipation? That feeling in your stomach? Well, I am having one of those feelings today about what the next year will look like on the digital side for college stores. An early indication of change is the collection of fall textbook adoptions, which is a process that is going on now for many campuses. From individual e-mails, and internal discussion lists I am seeing a strong uptake in interest in the adoption of digital textbooks by faculty. While many college stores still do not support the delivery of digital textbooks, the time has come for stores to either commit to a future that includes a growing percentage of digital sales, many of which will occur via stores’ websites, or accept that their current and future customers will migrate elsewhere as they become obsolete. The messages and signals in the marketplace have become so loud and clear that the only people who cannot tell that a change is coming are those who are choosing not to listen. We and others anticipate that 2009-2010 will be the start of the real shift to digital course materials. Expect some more big announcements between now and the start of the fall semester. Amazon's new Kindle is just the start. All stores must increase their experimentation, innovation, and knowledge sharing if they are to remain a viable and vibrant part of the academic landscape. I hope the safety bar on our roller coaster is working! This ride is looking like it will be a real thriller!

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