McGraw-Hill is currently the only textbook provider involved in the project.
Students in Felix Elwert’s Sociology 120: Marriage and Family course normally spend $116 for a new copy of the course’s primary textbook, “Public and Private Families,” by Andrew Cherlin.
A used copy goes for about $76, he said.
“Let’s be realistic, that’s a huge amount of money,” he said.
But there are still questions about whether eTextbooks are actually less expensive than their print counterparts and how long students would continue to have access to their texts after the course is over.
A Daytona State College study this year found that some students who purchased eTextbooks only saved $1 compared to those who bought printed material. The study also found that more than half of students who participated in eTextbook surveys were dissatisfied in some way with the digital books.
The majority of students said reading from a computer screen was tiring, and that they would have read more material if it had been available in print. Some Daytona students complained when they weren’t able to make notes or highlight passages in their digital books, according to the college’s study.
Daytona researchers said students should be given the option of eTextbooks or traditional print books, regardless of cost-saving efforts.
Elwert said he thinks the eTextbooks have great potential because students can make notes and share them with other people in class, including professors. But he’s also concerned about what happens to the students’ notes after the class is over.