Amazon Kindle Textbook Rental

More evidence of the way things are changing; Kindle Textbook Rental

When I was in college (many years ago), we got a list of required textbooks at registration, and then headed down to one of the two campus bookstores. There, we had two choices: buy a new book at an exorbitant price, or get a used book at a slightly less exorbitant price. We spent what seemed like hours looking through books, trying to find the ones that were the least highlighted and marked up from previous semesters.

Funny. One of my friends actually wanted the ones that had margin notes and highlights. He figured that meant someone had already done a bunch of the work for him.

When the semester was over, we returned to the same bookstores and sold the books back for pennies on the dollar. The store then turned around, jacked the price back up and sold the used book to the next semester’s suckers. I wonder how many times they were able to turn the same books over and what their profit margin was. It was a license to print money.

“Renting” an ebook strikes me as a great idea.

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1 thought on “Amazon Kindle Textbook Rental”

  1. It’s a good idea, but I am a little concerned about how well edited the books will be. 

    At OSU, it tended to be one of two ways you got a book for class – 1- you got the big textbook and the professor was one of the primary authors; or 2- the professor steered you to Kinko’s to pick up a workbook which was written by him (and perhaps you needed another textbook too)

    In either case, the professor was getting royalties from the sales. 

    The problem was that if you just got the workbook, it wasn’t published by a big house which put the work into editing and validating it.  If it was one of those classes where they didn’t even require another textbook – you might be working from a document with the professors name on it, and he could have only done a cursory examination of the document himself (having TA’s writing the bulk of it) – there were always a lot of corrections to these.

    Now if the barrier to getting published is merely putting a doc online with Amazon, how many professors will go the full publish route with a big house?  Perhaps some will in the hope that they will be picked up by other universities as a text book – but a ton of professors will put their own books out with limited editing and validation.  Further how does the Kindle allow you to edit that book as you go along in class? 

    Perhaps kids now might work a different way than I did, but key for me was less about what was in the book line by line, and more about interaction in class and putting my own written notes in the book.  I can’t see typing along notes , and written notes referencing a page would be problematic for the way I worked. 

    If it was more like the iPad and I could write directly on the document, that would be a different thing (although of course the iPad doesn’t normally work with a stylus).

    All that said- from a price perspective, this can’t be beat.  As a dad who is going to be paying for college down the road, I like it from a financial perspective.

    Reply

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