Reining in exorbitant textbook costs is no longer a campus-by-campus venture: A unified approach, powered by EDUCAUSE and the Internet2 consortium’s NET+ cloud-based collaborative purchasing program, could make low-cost electronic textbooks available now, ed-tech leaders hope.
Colleges experimenting with digital textbooks can take months—sometimes years—to negotiate with publishers before their school’s modest eBook program is introduced to students now paying upwards of $1,100 a year for books.
This fall, campus technology leaders will closely track the results of an expansive eTextbook pilot program ranging across 28 campuses, creating what many in higher education believe could be a model for quickly bringing low-cost textbook options to students who, in some cases, have stopped buying required texts because they cannot afford the books.
The participating schools will receive deep discounts on textbook orders, because the colleges will ensure that every student uses the textbook’s free electronic version. Guaranteed participation in the digital textbook effort makes this program different from myriad others tried on campuses across the country.