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About 77 percent of students said they still prefer print books

Textbook publishers are hoping to battle the used textbook market with digital options, but it could take some time before students hop on that bandwagon. 

Publishers like McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson Plc don't make any money on used textbooks; their revenue comes from sales of new textbooks. However, college students in particular aren't always willing to pay the steep prices for new textbooks -- which can run hundreds of dollars -- after already having to pay thousands for tuition. 

This is where the used market comes in handy. Students can buy used print books on the cheap, and then resell them when the semester is over.

For instance, Reuters used "Biology" by Sylvia Mader and Michael Windelspecht as an example. The brand-new print version costs $229, and the used version costs $102. Students can typically resell it for about $95. 

Which route do you think students are going to take?

To address this issue for publishers, they're launching digital e-book versions of their textbooks. This allows them to sell access codes to students, which expire when the semester ends. 

For the book "Biology," the e-book version costs $120. 

This is still more expensive than the used print version, and students don't have the option to resell it after use. But textbook publishers insist that the bonus material along with the access code is worth the extra money. 

These digital versions can offer quizzes, study guides, flash cards, notes and some even act as a personal tutor for an additional fee. 

McGraw-Hill launched its LearnSmart software in 2010, which is a persona guide through the company's e-books. At that time, there were only 150,000 subscribers. In 2012, there were more than a million students. They pay about $25 to $35 per course on top of the cost of the e-book.

But not all students care to use the extra features that come with e-books. Many still like to hold a physical book in their hands and study on their own without guides and quizzes to slow the process. Not everyone learns the same way.

In a 2012 study by the National Association of College Stores, about 77 percent of students said they still prefer print books. Another survey showed that just 14 percent of classes required online e-books. 

Tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have been working with publishers to offer e-books on devices like the iPad, Kindle and Surface. It's a win-win situation, since the tech companies sell their hardware and textbook publishers often get a cut of e-book versions sold. 

Last year, Apple introduced iBooks Author and iBooks 2. iBook Author is Mac software that allows textbook writers and publishers to create textbooks for the iPad, and iBooks 2 is the sequel to the iBooks app that provides students with new study options like note-taking.

Source: Reuters

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RE: Perhaps
By lebarle on 7/23/2013 5:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
Your error is in assuming that the purpose of college is to educate the student. That used to be true. Today higher education is more about making money than educating the student.

They jacked the price of text books because they could. The student had no alternatives. Then the student developed a healthy used book market. This put pressure on the mature new market. The marketers are trying to separate the student from his (parents) money by offering convenient online content.

This is a small problem that will settle itself via market forces. I am more concerned with how we can make higher education more available to the poorer among us. This is a cultural "good" that used to be embraced. Why is it in decline?

I look at the University near me and I see rampant expense and profiteering. Many idle workers punching a time clock waiting for a pension to pop out. New stores to cater to the student credit card. Credit cards for the student to abuse. Student loans. Does anyone else think it is interesting that a big fat corporation like Fannie Mae or Sallie Mae gets to offer loans to students that are enforced by the Federal Government? You can bet your bippie they are making a profit. Try to weasel out of a student loan. I don't think it can be done. Did you know they cannot be discharged in a Bankruptcy? This is good business. Reminds me of the RailRoad Tycoons.

RE: Perhaps
By marvdmartian on 7/24/2013 8:55:41 AM , Rating: 2
And the used textbook market can only be successful if the university is lazy, and doesn't opt to use a different textbook every new school year. That's been done quite a bit, and leaves the student with a barely used book they cannot resell.

This is still more expensive than the used print version, and students don't have the option to resell it after use. But textbook publishers insist that the bonus material along with the access code is worth the extra money .

Funny, DVD and Blu-Ray producers insist that the extra features they put on their product make them more attractive to consumers....but who, honestly views them more than once??

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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