eTextbooks can be rented from Google Play for as much as 80 percent off the purchase price

Textbook prices over the past decade have increased by more than 80 percent, and some students and faculty have begun turning to alternate, cheaper online means for their class materials.

Forty-seven percent of students recently surveyed by Educause said they wish their instructors used more eTextbooks.

A study conducted earlier this summer by Wakefield Research and CourseSmart determined that more than half of students think they would be more likely to complete required reading if it was available digitally and accessible by a mobile device.

Yet, when students head to campus for the new school year, they’re still usually carrying a backpack full of heavy – and expensive – print textbooks. New initiatives from two very different companies could help change that this semester, allowing students to fit a whole semesters-worth of books in just their pocket.

Google Play, the internet and software behemoth’s digital media store, is now offering up digital textbooks from some of education’s best-known publishers, including Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Macmillan.

“With the Google Play Books app, you have convenient tools at hand to make studying simpler and faster,” Scott Dougall, Google Play’s director of product management, said in a blog post. “You can instantly search within a textbook for a particular word or phrase, bookmark chapters and pages, highlight and annotate key passages and get quick access to dictionaries, translation tools, Wikipedia and Google search.”

See Page 2 for more details on the growing number of eTextbook options for students.


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