Category Archives: digital textbooks

With OpenStax, e-Textbook Reads You

openstaxFor the past several years the non-profit OpenStax has been helping college students save money by producing and promoting open source textbook alternatives, and now they’re turning their attention to AP textbooks.

OpenStax recently announced the launch of a pioneering education project to develop new digital textbooks for high school students. Funded by a $9 million grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF), the project hopes to develop free, digital textbooks capable of delivering personalized lessons. Continue reading

Yuzu for iPad Updated, But It’s Still Not Ready for the New School Year

YUZU-logo-tm[1]Barnes & Noble’s replacement for the NookStudy digital textbook app has matured somewhat in the 4 months since I reported on its launch in April, but the platform is still a work in progress. Continue reading

Textbook Publisher Claims License on New Edition, Demands Students Return the Paper Textbook

No publisher 41Sx9dh9WoL[1]hates the first sale doctrine more than textbook publishers. Over the years they have tried numerous tricks to stop students from reselling their books, including releasing new editions containing minimal revisions, bundling licensed digital content, and convincing professors to create custom editions.

Wolters Kluwer, via their law publisher subsidiary Aspen, has come up with a new scheme to discourage law students from reselling their legal casebooks. According to Josh Blackman, a law professor in Texas, they are attaching a license to the sale of paper books: Continue reading

Inkling Gives up on Selling Digital Textbooks to Students – Lays Off 25% of Staff

With inklingthe failure of Kno and the closure of Coursesmart, the consumer focused digital textbook market has been showing every sign of fizzling, and now Inkling is throwing in the towel. This 5-year-old digital textbook startup has fired 25% of its staff yesterday as it continues to shift its focus from selling to students to getting paid by publishers. Continue reading

Barnes & Noble Launches New e-Textbook App – Yuzu

Barnes & NobleYuzu_iPad_logo[1] quietly launched the beta version of a new digital textbook app earlier this month. It’s called Yuzu, and it is currently available for the iPad and for web browsers.

Yuzu is a digital education platform that Barnes & Noble says is going to “make the everyday learning experience remarkably gratifying”. Few details are available at this time, but B&N says that the new platform will support “the collaborative, free flow of information between learners and educators”. Continue reading

University of Maryland Now Exploring Open Source Textbook Options

With an annual 1375685165_0026af5223_n[1]growth rate that exceeds housing and healthcare, textbooks are the single fastest growing expense for college students and many universities are looking for a solution.

The University of California and the University of Washington have each started programs to offer their students a catalog of free and freely available open source textbooks, and now the University System of Maryland is following suit. Continue reading

Inkling Releases a Digital Textbook App for Android

Inkling inklinghas been selling digital textbooks for so long that it is often easy to forget that this ebook company only offer apps for iPad and iPhone, so I was surprised today to read about Inkling’s new Android app. Continue reading

Inkling is Giving up on Digital Textbook Retailing

When I wrote inklingabout Amazon’s Brazilian digital textbook deal last week I argued that it was a sign of a shift in the market, and today I got another piece of evidence that shows I’m right.

There’s an article over on Fast Company about Inkling, the digital textbook startup. It’s well worth your time, but I especially want to highlight a couple points: Continue reading

Amazon’s Brazilian Textbook Deal Heralds a Shift in the Market

Earlier 6966883093_5fa64ed49e_m[1]this week Amazon announced a new distribution deal with the Brazilian govt to distribute 200 distribute textbook titles to teachers and students across Brazil.

While this is quite the coup for Amazon, there’s a bigger story here. This deal, along with several other unrelated developments, are all signs that the digital textbook market bubble, in particular the one where textbooks were going to be sold to students, is defunct. Continue reading

It Must be Time for Midterms – CourseSmart is Down

When it 2840195_1c8a95fc6c_m[1]comes to new technology, it’s important to remember that there are always upsides and downsides. For example, with digital textbooks there is the downside of not being able to resell the book and recoup the cost, but there is a corresponding upside.

Thanks to digital textbook provider CourseSmart, we now have a new twist on the “my dog ate my homework” excuse. Continue reading