Textbooks face evolution

By Melissa Benton |Staff Writer|

More than 5,000 eTextbooks are to be made available in the fall at CSUSB.

CSUSB will launch the use of eTextbooks, or digital rental textbooks. These will be offered at a discounted price of up to 60 percent less than the price of purchasing a new printed version of the same text.

The Coyote Bookstore has yet to determine which classes will utilize the eTextbooks.

The eTextbooks and other digital materials will be available through desktops, laptops, tablets, e-readers and other various devices. They will be able to be accessed online and offline, and will offer other capabilities such as highlighting and note-taking.

This upcoming spring, Cenage Learning, CourseSmart and Follett Higher Education Group will be working with faculty on all CSU campuses to provide development opportunities.

“Our next step will be to inform the faculty about the choices for different [quarters]. They can pick books available as eTexts, which lets students pick the eText version too,” said Erik Fallis, the media relations manager for CSU.

The CSU system approached several vendors asking to provide as many digital textbooks for a severely discounted price. The three partners came forward with more than 5,000 titles between them which would be available to all 23 CSU campuses.

The eTextbooks will be supported through CenageBrain.com, CourseSmart.com, and CafeScribe.com
“We are looking to use technology to provide students and faculty with options. This is all about choice. It’s a major emphasis with the affordable learning solutions content. Students and faculty have a choice in things that are provided to lower costs,” said Fallis.

Some students are looking forward to the cost-cutting of textbooks through this option.

“I can’t wait! I spend so much money on textbooks and I feel like I hardly even use them. Sometimes, I wonder why I even bother to buy them. But if I had a cheaper digital rental that I could use, it would solve a lot of my problems,” said student Heather Taylor.

Kevin O’Rourke, the Follett textbook manager at the CSUSB bookstore, issued a statement about the new program.
“With the bulk of our Textbook demand still attributed to purchasing or renting print texts, the shift to digital course materials is more of an evolution than a revolution,” said O’Rourke. “However, digital textbooks are quickly becoming a popular option for this generation of tech-savvy students now entering college classrooms equipped with laptops, tablets, eReaders and smartphones.”

“This CSU Digital Rental Program is a great step forward in reducing the course materials expense for CSUSB students and the Coyote Bookstore will continue to work closely with CafeScribe and Cengage to try to increase CSUSB’s participation, said O’Rourke.

Fallis explained that students may still buy the printed editions but feels that with time eTextbooks will be preferred.

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