Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Textbooks with ads 

This will make for quite the discussion on campus when I post it on the discuss list, but it's too juicy to ignore. Here is Freeload Press, a company willing to give e-textbooks away in return for displaying advertising. They will also sell bound paper copies with or without ads, without ancilliaries. So far it appears they have four books available in accounting and finance. But students will find this, and they will use it. My principles course last semester had the option of an e-book for 2/3 the price of a print copy (or about the same $30 that Freeload is charging for print) and a little less than half chose that option.

So while my colleagues are debating why ads are allowed on classroom building bulletin boards while ads for their favored political candidates are not, they may find that their own students are agreeing to view ads in return for lower textbook prices. Says the company's FAQ:
The idea will be too much of a cultural leap for some, and they'll opt out. Others will make decisions strictly as they have done in the past, basing them on coverage, writing style, level, ancillaries, relationship with a sales rep, and the like. However, the issue of price is now so pervasive that many instructors will be drawn to our model because of the price/value consideration alone.
We shall see.

(h/t: Jim Mahar.)

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