Posted in: In this week's e-newsletter, Latest News & Views, Tech Trends
From 1978 through 2010, what increased in price more: a) houses b) college textbooks or c) the overall inflation rate?
If you answered (b), go to the head of the class.
Over the last 30 years, educational books rose in price at twice the price of inflation (6.7% to 3.3%) — just one reason that students and their families say college is more and more unaffordable these days.
Now the Chronicle of Higher Education predicts more schools will fast-track electronic readers for four-year students, eliminating the need for print textbooks.
The Chronicle says colleges will charge students a “course-materials” fee that would cover all electronic books (or e-books) that professors require. Students would save well over half the money that’s now spent on textbooks.
That’s because an e-book costs between $25 to $30 to produce versus $150 to $300(!) to make a print textbook. Ordering e-book downloads in bulk would save a bundle.
Then colleges could negotiate better rates with publishers. Eventually the used-book market would dry up and the incentive for illegally downloading texts would likely decrease too.
Time for a change
The e-book revolution may arrive sooner than you think. Reason: Some college leaders are as fed up with overpriced textbooks as students.
“When students pay more for new textbooks than tuition in a year, then something’s wrong,” says Rand Spiwak, executive vice president at Daytona State College. “Our game plan is to bring the cost of textbooks down by 75 to 80 percent.”
What’s your take — are e-readers the smarter choice? Share your opinion below.