“CampusBooks.com compared pricing data for the top 100 college textbooks against Amazon’s new Kindle Rental service, and found that Kindle Rental often has the best prices, but only 18% of the titles. Renting a Kindle book for the advertised 30-day period yielded the highest savings, often in the double-digits over traditional rental, used and new textbooks, but only five of 100 titles were available for the month-long range. The other 13 titles available had minimum periods of 60 days, and the savings were less. However, if students were to rent via Kindle for a whole semester (120 days), only half of the time was Kindle Rental cheaper than buying and selling a used book . . . ” (more…)
Tag Archive: e-textbooks
This is the final post in a three-part interview with Eric Frank, the founder and president of Flat World Knowledge, a leader in open-source and digital textbooks. You can find first part of our interview here and the second here.
The biggest points brought up this week were:
- PUBLISHING PROCESS COSTS: “I think that at some point the real pain in the industry is having to invest a lot in switching to getting a publishing process that gets your costs down dramatically that allows you to price at a very different price point for digital.”
- CREDIBILITY OF EBOOKS: “I also think that the online industry is missing a rating/credibility system, as you alluded to. There’s nothing besides professor’s choosing by adoption, nothing tells a teacher what’s a better version of a basic algebra book out there is.”
Jeff Cohen, The Textbook Guru: How is your pricing in comparison to a new or a used book?
Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge: By and large our e-books are priced at 25 dollars, so for that e-book you pay 25. For a black and white book you pay 35 and for a color book you pay 70. So for an audio book you play about 39 dollars depending on the book. So that’s where we are at. So by and large certainly the black and white book will always be less then any other book than any other option on the market. Color book sort of becomes competitive with used book prices generally on a color book.
Last week, I sat down with Eric Frank, the founder and president of Flat World Knowledge, a leader in open-source and digital textbooks. You can find first part of our interview here, and stay tuned for part three later this week.
The biggest points brought up this week were:
- FLAT WORLD KNOWLEDGE: “I think we’re certainly going to be over 3,000 unique faculty, 1,800 colleges and some where in the neighborhood of a couple hundred thousand students when the doors open in the fall. And by then we’ll have 40 books published that we would marketing in the fall semester.”
- ONE PURCHASE, MULTIPLE PLATFORMS: “What we are saying is: so, you bought a book from us and we are going to give these files and you are going to be able to access these files via your handheld device or on your desktop, or on your iPhone via the scan reader that reads the e-pub file. So, by and large, you are making one purchase and you are getting an e-book that renders in multiple places for you.”
- CUSTOMIZABILITY: “And we have a platform on that site called M.I.Y.O. or “make it your own,” that allows someone to go in someone to drag and drop table of contents into a different order; click trashcans to delete things that they don’t cover; click any paragraph or act in the book and edit it directly online using a browser based editor; upload PDF’s; insert YouTube videos; and do all that in a pretty simple interface.”
- REPLACING STANDARD TEXTBOOKS: “It wouldn’t be very difficult to market to the Campbell Biology users and say, ‘there’s an alterative, try it for two weeks and if it isn’t working for you, then buy Campbell.’ “
Jeff Cohen, The Textbook Guru: What numbers you are allowed to share, can you share some numbers about titles that you have, adoptions, numbers of colleges–where you guys are currently at, or what you are expecting for August? It is my belief that the buzz of 2010 was the rental buzz. We saw the market go from three rental players to 10 or 11rental players last August, and it seems like the buzz leading up to August this year is really going to be around the e-textbook as people are really starting to understand the difference between e-book and an e-textbook, and a lot more players are entering the field. So, do you think, could you speak to your adoptions, your number of titles and schools you are currently covering or you are expecting on covering for the August back to school period?
Xplana is a great source for those who have access to the Internet. Xplana offers free e-textbooks for a wide range of courses online. Xplana is purely online, and it offers more than textbooks. Xplana plans to turn its platform into a social network of sorts, allowing students to help one another while utilizing the resources on the site. Xplana has released an app for Android, as well as an app for the iPhone, that will allow students to access their materials on the go, as well.
What others are saying:
“Just as new devices have helped spawn the growth in e-books, Xplana also points to some significant developments around open educational resources (OER) and open textbooks. States and institutions have embarked on a number of OER initiatives to help address the affordability and availability of textbooks, including Washington State’s Open Course Library project, a program that aims to make core college materials available on the Web for less than $30 per class.” Read Write Web
“Launched in 2010, Xplana.com currently has more than 400,000 educational assets – e-books, open educational resources, and curated content – available to its community of users in a wide range of subjects from agriculture and animals to English and languages, science and computer science and non-academic areas.” Taxo Diary
Pros: Since Xplana is online, it’s easy to access, and doesn’t involve carrying anything extra around. The fact that it’s free is perfect for starving students who don’t need any extra monthly fees or the like. The apps for both Androids and iPhones make it so that students can access what they need at any time, since most people usually carry smartphones these days. (more…)