Read College Textbooks Online

July 28, 2008

Find eTextbooks at CourseSmart.

read college textbook onlineStudents around the country can now read college textbooks online because of a joint venture between several publishers.

Fourteen years after the birth of the Web, digital textbooks have finally made it into the mainstream. ED MAP, a company that develops course-material solutions for K-12 and higher education, joined forces with CourseSmart, a supplier of digital-course materials who’s collaborated with publishers like Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education, Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons Inc., Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group.

Four-thousand, digital-textbook titles have been made available to college students online. Students receive a 180-day subscription, about six months, for each eTextbook they use.

Students have 24-hour access to the site. The spokesperson for ED MAP stated that the site works with any operating system, with major internet browsers. He also stated that some publishers allow the eTextbooks to be printed, while some textbook publishers do not.

eTextbooks can afford significant savings over physical textbooks, typically around 40 to 50 percent, an ED MAP spokesperson stated. A random search for a textbook from the office bookshelf–priced new at $138 from a leading retailer–showed a savings of about $50 for the digital edition. That’s about the cost that the college bookstore may buy the textbook back from you, but there is no guarantee that the same book edition will be used next semester. In that case, the book belongs to you.

Buying textbooks come with the cost of going back to school. Though according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, the price of college textbooks has risen at twice the rate of inflation. Lawmakers have introduced legislation to make college textbooks more affordable.

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