Posts Tagged ‘textbooks’

Textbook Rentals May Not Save Students Much

November 7th, 2010 Comments off

Photo credit: greenasian on Flickr

Well, the textbook rental program that is starting at Metropolitan State University may not be enough to save meaningful amount of money, it seems.  According this Associated Press piece, there are still several other factors impacting the textbook industry that may cause savings to be less than advertised.

About half the nation’s major college and university bookstores offered textbook rentals this fall, according to the National Association of College Stores, hoping to cut the $600-$900 students spend buying books each year. That’s roughly a fivefold increase from around 300 stores a year ago.

But schools and publishing experts say the programs are expensive to start up and difficult to operate. In addition, there are complaints that rental prices are still too high, even though they can be as much as half the cost of a new book.

Categories: Associated Press, Education Tags:

Textbook Rentals Close to Home

September 3rd, 2010 Comments off

It sounds like the U of M has started offering textbook rentals for some courses. You can read more at KARE-11 or watch the video below (the textbook story starts about 30 seconds in). Time will tell if this practice spreads, but I’d guess that even the notion of a paper-based textbook will seem quaint in 10-15 years (maybe sooner).

Categories: Education, KARE-11 Tags:

Open-Source Textbooks? Part II

August 1st, 2010 1 comment

Courtesy of greenasian on Flickr

Over a year ago, I wrote about open source e-textbooks and I mentioned that I had trouble envisioning e-textbooks replacing paper-based books in a course like management accounting.  During that time I’ve read many things about the future of textbooks and I’m now of the opinion that limiting the thinking to things that exist today (like paper books and e-readers such as the Kindle) is probably dangerous.  I have a feeling that as states like California, some universities, and leaders with backgrounds in other industries (see below) push into open-source textbooks that can be modified to suit the needs of instructors everywhere that we’ll end up with something that looks/feels a lot like Wikipedia that will serve as the textbook of the future.

We won’t call it an “open-source textbook,” in my opinion.  Instead, the course material will be integrated into what we now see as learning management systems (such as D2L) and will be accessible through all kinds of devices including PCs, mobile phones, dedicated internet tablets, etc.  It just seems natural to me that learning will evolve in this direction as people that have grown up with technology think in different ways and use technology differently than those that have gone before them.

An interesting post (at this link: In School Systems, Slow Progress for Open-Source Textbooks via continues the discussion of where textbooks are heading.  This time, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems is behind an effort to do for learning what open-source software has done for computing.

Mr. McNealy, the fiery co-founder and former chief executive of Sun Microsystems, shuns basic math textbooks as bloated monstrosities: their price keeps rising while the core information inside of them stays the same.

“Ten plus 10 has been 20 for a long time,” Mr. McNealy says.

Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr. McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.

I suppose we are years away from seeing things change at the university level, but it sure would be interesting to me if I had the ability to edit/add/clarify things in a textbook for my students.  I don’t know what kind of economic model would produce these works (one can’t expect experts to spend time writing for free…or can they?) but that is something that will get ironed out along the way when/if open-source products take off.

One Free Year of Amazon Prime for Students

July 12th, 2010 Comments off

I see that Amazon has launched a new site/product called “Amazon Student” where you can get free Amazon Prime (which give you free 2-day shipping on anything you buy sold by Amazon) for a year.  If you buy textbooks (or anything, I guess) from Amazon this could be a great value.  And it is free so what the heck…

Amazon Student

Categories: Education Tags: ,

What if you could rent college textbooks?

May 25th, 2010 Comments off

With St. Cloud State University starting up a textbook rental program I wonder how long it will be until other campuses do the same.  I have a feeling that any rental program will be relatively short-lived given that at some point colleges are sure to move to electronic textbooks instead of the paper versions.  I guess time will tell.

MinnPost – What if you could rent college textbooks? St. Cloud State will try it this summer.

Categories: Education, MinnPost Tags:

Amazon is Buying Used Textbooks

May 10th, 2010 Comments off

This topic is interesting for a couple reasons.  First, the strategy of Amazon getting into the textbook buyback business is an interesting business model.  Second, many people that read this blog are students that can probably make use of this service.  It will be interesting to see how long college bookstores can operated as they have in the past with increased competition on this front not to mention the pressure from Kindle textbooks and the potential of textbooks being replaced by open-source products.

I see that Amazon is paying about $78 for the Horngren textbook we use in Acct 320 and it looks like they will pay the shipping as well.  This might be a good avenue for those of you looking to sell books especially if a book you have is an old edition that the bookstore is not buying back.

Here is the link:

CPA Exam & IFRS Content

July 27th, 2009 Comments off

For those of you that are planning to take the CPA Exam in the coming years, be aware that International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and related materials will be incorporated into the test starting in few short years, even if adoption/convergence of the standards in the United States is postponed.

For those of us raised on U.S. GAAP, the day is coming that being “bilingual” in accounting standards will be required.  This may impact your decision to postpone the exam any longer than you have to because accounting curriculum (including instructors, textbooks, etc.) will need some time to also incorporate the new standards and if you don’t pass the exam my 2012 you may find yourself in limbo for a while while the educational opportunities are available for you learn this new material.

Although IFRS adoption in the U.S. is in a holding pattern, IFRS adoption in other countries marches on.  In the end, we face two likely scenarios.  Either the U.S. ultimately adopts IFRS or both IFRS and U.S. GAAP coexist (converged or not).  Under both scenarios, it will be important for U.S. CPAs to build foundational knowledge of IFRS.

Recognizing this need, IFRS questions will be incorporated into the CPA exam no later than 2012.  Colleges are incorporating IFRS into their accounting curricula and accounting textbooks with IFRS content are expected in the reasonably near future.

Read more at the IFRS Blog:

Open Source e-Textbooks?

June 14th, 2009 Comments off

Maybe I’m just using outdated thinking on this, but I have trouble seeing how e-Textbooks could be widely adopted in a course like ours.  Even with a Kindle-like device, the convenience of flipping between pages to quickly look up little nuggets is going to be very hard to overcome in the digital world.  Of course I’ve never bought a song online either and still buy entire CDs because I like one song so I’m admittedly not cutting-edge on this kind of thing.

Still, it will be interesting to see where the recent proposal of Governor Schwarzenegger in California for schools there to adopt open-source, electronic textbooks goes.  Think of it as Wikipedia for the classroom.

Schwarzenegger’s Push for Digital Textbooks. The Calif. Gov. Wants to Save Money by Dumping Printed Books for Online Texts; Is it Feasible? ABC News. By Michael B. Farrell. June 14, 2009

Amazon to Launch Kindle for Textbooks

May 5th, 2009 Comments off

Amazon appears to be trying to become for books what Apple is for music.  In seeking to be a one-stop-shop for book buyers, Amazon is expanding their Kindle line to include a larger version that is made for textbooks.
Both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters (piggy-backing on the WSJ story) are reporting that the official announcement will come Wednesday.  It will be interesting to see how supportive students and other stakeholders (like college bookstores and textbook publishers) will be of this venture, but I imagine that at some point electronic books are going to be the norm.  It appears that time might come sooner than I would have predicted just a few months ago.

Amazon Set to Offer Kindle for Textbooks. Geoffrey A. Fowler, Ben Worthen. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: May 5, 2009. pg. B.5

Bigger Kindle e-reader may not be a newspaper fix.  Reuters.  May 4, 2009.

Amazon’s Kindle is Off to College.  BusinessWeek.  May 4, 2009.