Friday, August 14, 2009

Rent-a-text now straight from the publisher 

My only question is, why did this take so long?

Stamford, Conn.-based Cengage Learning on Thursday announced plans to rent titles directly to students for 40 percent to 70 percent off the suggested retail price.

Also Thursday, McGraw-Hill Higher Education announced a partnership with web site � one of numerous Web sites that have popped up selling and renting secondhand books. Under the arrangement, McGraw-Hill will provide new textbooks to Chegg, offering the company a bigger inventory of books to lend out, and McGraw-Hill will get a share of the rental revenue.

...Students renting a Cengage title would get immediate access to an electronic version of the first chapter, and then be shipped the book, the company said. At the end of the rental term, students can return the books or purchase them.

The announcements come as the industry tries to adjust to modern technologies that have upended what students and teachers expect from supplementary classroom materials and also the traditional models for selling and delivering them.

Among other experiments, a group that manages several hundred college bookstores is currently running a trial rental program. Meanwhile, Inc. is aiming the new, bigger version of its Kindle electronic reading device at the college market, with six universities running Kindle pilots this fall.

I was able to use my Kindle 2 exclusively for books for my money and banking course last summer but that was because I didn't have a traditional textbook required. I just got a personal look at a friend's DX, and the only real advantage I saw was a program to make .pdf files more readable. (Does that come for my 2? Dunno.)

Given what I see as a high rate of time preference for my students, I will bet this is a success.

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