The Days of High Priced Textbooks May Be Numbered

by Austin Dave, Staff Writer 287 views0

By Linda Robredo – Cougar News Contributor

College of the Canyons’ Board of Trustees agreed to explore e-textbooks to lower student’s textbooks costs. In response to the Oct. 28 student survey results presentation by the Associated Student Government officers — a top student concern is the high cost of textbooks.

The current price for a political science textbook We the People at the COC bookstore is $75. The e-book price for this same textbook is $22.50 a savings of $52.50 at www.nortonebooks.com. Current base model price for a digital e-reader that also reads PDF format is $200. One can be purchased at www.sonystyle.com

College of the Canyon’s librarian Ron Karlin says on-line Net Library e-books are readable on computers in PDF format. The library’s e-books are stuck to the desk or lap top computer equipment and the student may get kicked off the Internet network by taking too much time on one page.

Language confusion over this new technology appears to be muddled. The e-reader is the digital book reading device. Similar to an I-pod, multiple e-books get downloaded on your digital e-reader, providing multiple freedoms and study safety features. All digital e-reader devices save the page location for the student to resume use after a break from study.

Think about the total weight of one semester’s stack of textbooks. Now think about those same textbooks downloaded on a 9-ounce e-reader with adjustable font size, week-long battery life technology and complete freedom of movement from sofa to beach. With the e-book purchase, back-up rights are saved on a computer file with limited e-book download sharing rights to others. This sharing model is similar to a cell phone’s family plan.

COC has recently received a 2-year $298,896 Open Educational Resources Grant, OER. A goal of the OER grant is to expand affordable textbook content to students. John Makevich, Instructional Design Coordinator of the OER grant, said digital e-readers in conjunction with expanding the textbook rental program on campus will be considered.

Dean James Glapa-Grossklag said “the Higher Educational Opportunities Act of 2008 requires all U.S. institutions of higher education to make available via their Web sites the ISBN number, title, and retail cost of required instructional materials. The aim is to make textbook pricing more transparent.” With transparent information the student can quickly choose the textbook price or the e-book price.

Privately owned bookstores are justifiably concerned about further market loss as open market conditions prevail. On campus bookstore manager Stephanie Hartley said 10 percent of textbooks for sale at the COC bookstore are available in e-book format currently.

The days of high priced textbooks could be numbered.

With the future free of muddled techno language, with clear understanding and ability to measure all ways to stretch student’s textbook dollars–exploring e-textbook readers to lower the high cost of textbooks is more than interesting.

Austin Dave, Staff Writer

Austin spent two years in the GVTV television production class at Golden Valley High School — one year on the staff and one year as the student producer. Following graduation in June 2009 he enrolled in the News Media class at College of the Canyons, where he enjoys his position as Web Director of Cougar News Online (CougarNews.com). In his spare time, Austin films and edits projects for local businesses, schools and bands. Video editing and cinematography are his two deepest passions. He enjoys living in the city of Santa Clarita and is the youngest member of the SCVTV staff.