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Discounted digital books to help Cal State students save money

Students at five Cal State University campuses will be able to save hundreds of dollars on books under a pilot project that will allow them to view course materials on their computers, iPads, iPhones and other electronic devices.

The program is a collaboration between the university and five major textbook publishers, which are providing a 65% discount for the digital texts.

The e-books will be available in 32 courses, including American government, communications, math, management and finance at Cal State campuses in Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino and San Francisco.

"The digital licensing program is the result of the CSU looking at how we deliver education and identifying ways we can be innovative in creating a better learning environment at a lower cost,” said Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed.

An entire class will be able to use the e-books, allowing all students to have the same academic resources. Students can sign up for the e-book class or the same class using printed texts. An estimated 4,000 students are expected to enroll in classes using the digital texts.

Their savings could be significant. A printed calculus textbook that costs $235 would be available in a digital version for $94 for the entire semester. On average, a student pays more than $800 a year for texts, said Gerard L. Hanley, senior director of Cal State’s Academic Technology Services.

Students also will be able to print out the entire book at no extra cost, but only 10 pages at any one time. Publishers participating in the program are Bedford, Freeman & Worth, Cengage Learning, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons.

Florence Newberger, a math professor at Cal State Long Beach, already was using an online homework system for students in her business calculus class and said adding the digital version of the textbook made sense.

"It really facilitates things that I’m already doing," Newberger said.  "One of the things that’s important in mathematics is to be able to show why you’re doing what you’re doing, and one of the ways we can do that is to focus their attention on short, directed reading assignments.

"With an online book, we can have them set it up so there are links to the different pages they need," she added.

University officials said they plan to expand the program to more courses and additional schools in the 23-campus system in the spring after surveying students and faculty on its effectiveness.

-- Carla Rivera

Comments () | Archives (6)

The shakedown on books for college students has gone on far too long. Paying $200+ on a book you need for a couple months then reselling it for $50 to the schools buy back program completely sucks. Students know its a racket yet need the books. Programs like this should be expanded so students have more options to pursue their education, instead of getting ripped off for overpriced books that will never make the bookshelf...

This works!

I've used this for a class and one of our local commmunity colleges and it was wonderful! The option of printing out the material was a plus, since there are those of use that like to have that option.

This should be available at all the institutions!!

I'm all for ways to save the college student some money and time.

Between the budget crisis and the lack of classes/offerings....I propose that that those they are in the position to institute changes in our higher learning, look into more ONLINE CLASSES!!

There is no reason that a student cannot get a degree completely online. Even if there are some classes that can't be held online...the majority of your education can. It's not only a way to open up seats to those who require that brick and motar education, but it opens up the college experience to many where time constraints (ie. employment / family) is the roadblock to furthering their education!

Hopefully, the powers that be will see this article and responses!!

I agree with Richard. The book business is a complete SCAM. It needs to stop. We have the technology to vastly improve the lives of students. No more hauling books, and breaking their parent's wallets! They don't need a pilot project to see if it will work. Let's get with the new age, and burn those books! ;-)

I wonder which e-reader formats are available, they only mention the iPod, iPad, iPhone, etc. I wonder if CalState and the publishers have decided to support Mac in the e-reader market. I guess the savings in text books will pay for the iPad.

please let this happen to csula soon......like next semster!!!!

I love this idea! Heck they should have done this earlier. But I guess better late than never right. Get it going then and implement it nationwide, that way student cost can be cut into half if not more.


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