- Several prominent textbook publishers are finding new ways to save students money and stabilize revenues with inclusive access digital material models funded by fees included in student material fees.
- Under the new model of bookselling, students receive digital access to required course materials and have the option to pay additional money for a printed copy, delivered on the first day of class.
- Officials at Indiana University told Inside Higher Ed that in the eight years since piloting its eText initiative, revenues exceeded $10 million last year and there was a more than 40% jump in annual growth.
Textbooks were the impetus for college campuses rethinking standard operations for the campus bookstore and mailroom, all done in the name of saving students money. But can college leaders keep pace with the costs of accessing and licensing digital materials, and are reduced costs for digital textbooks accessible enough for low-income students?
Colleges which are considering ways to increase access to digital course materials should survey students to determine their ability to afford lower cost materials, the capacity to comfortably use them, and professors' willingness to make texts which they may have authored available through this system. Additionally, leaders must be aware of copyright laws and costs for digitizing texts which may not be available through all publishers, while being transparent about any differences in access to digital materials between programs and schools.