April 4th, 2012 by CourseSmart
Compare Side-By-Side eTextbooks
Attention Instructors: Did you know that CourseSmart has a new Table of Contents side-by-side comparison feature
? Long over are the days when you had to set two or more print textbooks side-by-side and compare TOC’s. CourseSmart makes comparison easy, by allowing you to pull up one etextbook from “Publisher A” alongside another etextbook from “Publisher B.” You can see in one view which order of information you prefer for your teaching methods, thus allowing you to make an informed etextbook decision for your class.
CourseSmart has over 20,000 digital etextbooks in our arsenal, and over 90% of the core textbooks used in Higher Education today. That means the liklihood that we have the eTextbook you’re looking for is quite high.
To use this feature, search for a textbook you’re interested in viewing. Then, click the “compare” button. Next, use the search button to locate a title to compare. The description for both books and the Table of Contents for both books are now side-by-side for you to see.
Making eTextbook adoption decisions has never been easier. To see this new feature in action, here’s a short YouTube video:
Video on Side-By-Side TOC Comparison
Tags: books, college, CourseSmart, digital, E-book, e-books, eTextbook, etextbooks, higher education, Instructors, iPad, ipad etextbooks EdTech research, mobile device, publishers, tablet
July 19th, 2011 by CourseSmart
Many industry analysts have pinpointed university faculty as an essential element for college students’ adoption of e-textbooks and digital course materials. Stanford’s recent decision to offer digital versions of university press course materials opens the door for the academic press to create a new lead into student adoption of digital materials.
Stanford University is among several larger universities now offering digital book rentals to create more cost effective solutions for cash-strapped students while also helping to lead the transition into e-textbooks. The digital PDF versions of what universities might normally offer as spiral bound, computer-printed materials are available for a limited subscription period at a discounted price or flat fee. Despite the highly variable cost of an academic press e-book (from $10 to 75% of the cost of the actual textbook), students can gain quick access to needed materials for a portion of the price they would pay for the print version of the book.
Of the larger university publishers offering digital subscriptions, none have admitted to making much of a profit on their e-book subscriptions, however, they are quick to counter that the objective of their entrance into the digital book market is to introduce digital materials to students who are either unable to purchase a print version or are interested another viable option for course reading and studying.
As more universities offer digital course materials for rental, and students become comfortable with digital alternatives to print textbooks, university officials are hoping to pave the way to more widespread digital material adoption.
What is your history with digital course materials? Have you used a digital book from a university press to help you decide whether an e-textbook was right for you?
Tags: college, digital course materials, e-books, etextbooks, publishers
March 24th, 2011 by CourseSmart
This last week we’ve seen a lot of news coverage as libraries and publishers struggle over e-book offerings in public libraries, particularly as it relates limitations on e-book rentals that result in libraries repurchasing materials when borrowing limits have been reached. Both sides’ present valid points for justifying their position, but ultimately only one will prevail.
To understand this struggle let’s first take a look at how libraries circulate e-books. Many larger public libraries, like the New York Public Library have websites dedicated to borrowing digital materials from e-books to music and videos. Much like browsing an online bookstore, virtual library branches allow users to check out and download books using their library card information. Digital materials from a virtual branch automatically expire after the due date, so the borrower can no longer access the materials on their device. The latest struggle has developed out of one publisher wanting to impose use, or download, limitations on e-books, while libraries feel they should pay once for unlimited use similar to purchasing print books for circulation.
Libraries argue that consistent with print versions of books, an initial purchase is made and the library then owns that material and can circulate it for the life of the book. Borrowing limitations imposed on libraries by one publisher result in e-books only being available for about one year. After the borrowing limit is reached the library must repurchase the e-book to put it back into circulation. Repurchasing an e-book seems erroneous, and not entirely feasible for an institution that relies on state and federal funding, and public donations especially considering a bestseller could be circulated hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of times over its unlimited lifespan.
The publisher leading the firestorm over e-book limitations insists that its library purchase policies are outdated, and must be updated as the popularity of e-books grows. Other publishers are concerned e-book rentals will divert consumers away from e-book retail purchases, and accordingly, do not offer e-books. And still more publishers continue to offer e-books to libraries without seeing an immediate need to alter the current pricing policy.
The emergence of intangible, intellectual property raises a lot of questions, and as we’ve seen in this debate over e-book restrictions, poses new problems for publishers and libraries. What do you think is a fair resolution to this problem? Do the same rules apply to both print and e-books?
Tags: e-books, library, publishers