Heading back to school shortly? NPR reported this morning on textbook manufacturers moving toward releasing textbooks for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Not a huge surprise, really, given the number of ebooks available for the small Apple devices. Available through CourseSmart, a consortium of several of the largest textbook publication houses, digital textbooks are about half the cost of a normal hardbound version. If you’re not crazy about reading on the small screen of an iPhone, you can also access the textbook files through any computer with internet access. While the upside is the cost savings, the downside is that you only get to keep book for six months, after which you would lose your access rights.
I have very few textbooks from college. By far the majority of them were sold back to the campus bookstore for beer money. Only having access for six months wouldn’t have been much of a hinderance because I had no need to keep most textbooks for long-term reference. On the other hand, with the digital version, you have nothing to sell back for beer money.