Latest Posts

Welcome to the New Textbook Guru! A Quick Update.

Back from hiatus and with a new look and a new Guru, the blog for all things textbooks has returned. Guru Jeff has moved on and switched industries and he’s doing great in his new endeavors. Thanks to him for his development of; I’m excited to dive in and pick up the conversation.

I’m Alex Neal, the new Textbook Guru, and I’ll be your guide to and through the textbook industry. A bit about me: I’m an experienced and successful entrepreneur and the creator of I’ve been in the online textbook business for nearly two decades and I’m an expert on textbooks, academic publishing and bookselling, e-commerce and price-comparison, digital marketing, as well as larger business development beyond the textbook industry. You can learn more about me, contact me about my areas of expertise, or pick my brain about textbooks and technology.

Going forward, I’ll be tackling all things textbooks such as eBooks and digital delivery, buying vs. renting textbooks, international editions, supplements and custom editions, mobile apps, industry players and trends, legislation regarding the high cost of textbooks, the role of the bookstore today and going forward, and so much more.

You can expect to be hearing from me very soon. In the meantime, check out the Archive and the Tag Cloud. I’ve made available all of v1. If there are topics that you’d like me to revisit, drop a line. I’d love to hear from you.


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Udacity

hen30xjvWelcome back to our series on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Today we are taking a look at one of the largest platforms in the field, Udacity. In case you missed it, we’ve already looked at the MOOC phenomenon in general and what to expect when enrolling in an MOOC. We also looked at one of the other big players in the space, edX. (more…)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): Class in Session

Recently I broached the subject of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which have very recently exploded onto the academic scene. They are an exciting new way of learning; able to reach thousands of students simultaneously while being completely free. It’s an attractive concept, but the question is how this concept performs in the real world. Today we’ll take a look at what it’s like to take an MOOC. (more…)

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Student Seller, Against Textbook Publishers

In a decision of great consequence to our industry (as well as to all things copyright), the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday ruled 6-3 in favor of allowing resellers who buy copyrighted products abroad to resell them in domestically without permission from copyright owners. (more…)

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): An Overview have been hopefully following the movement towards more affordable education for a while now, primarily tracking the growth of digital textbooks and their impact on the high prices student’s pay for education. However, if you’ve read my reviews of the major eTextbook platforms, you’ll know that while eBooks are innovating textbooks with interactive rich media and customization, they are still little more than digital versions of paper books. The kind of innovation that is really going to move the needle on education isn’t a repackaging of existing tools, it’s a rethinking of the tools themselves. This is where Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are succeeding, by flipping the academic model on its head. (more…)

Musings on the End of Print as the eTextbooks Debate Heats Up

We’re not even three weeks into this month and already October has seen the Digital vs. Print Textbooks debate really heat up and some heavy hitters, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan, weigh in with the bold statement “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete.” That’s provocative stuff and there’s a lot more to the story and good points made from all angles. (more…)