Skip to main content

Saving money with digital textbooks

I understand that for many the addition of a new technology seems counter-intuitive as a cost savings device. But think about ebooks like hybrid cars, compact florescent lights. The hybrid car gets so much better gas mileage and that new energy efficient light will save electricity that you can end up saving money over time, not that you should run out and get a hybrid car or new bulbs, but if you were about to replace your car or lights it would be a good thing to look at. That is kind of how you have to start thinking about electronic books and devices. Yes, a good ebook device that will allow students to interact with the text, such as by highlighting, margin notes, bookmarks, and interactive dictionaries will cost close to $100, and if you are thinking about adding that as an extra it is a cost increase and once you multiple it by some number of students it can be a big cost. But, and this is a big but, what many people don't realize is how often textbooks are replaced. The standard textbook is usually on a five year cycle of replacement. So that this year's new textbook is good for four more times, then it gets pretty worn out, along with the issues of currency of content - does your science book mention that Pluto is a planet or something else, and how is the Soviet Union doing?    Then to there are to accidents that happen to textbooks, getting wet is a common one. One other thing that many forget is that public schools have been paying for those books, I see this shock at the campus bookstore every year for students who have just come from public school and now have to pay for books - they can be quite expensive. Often the textbook used in a high school can easily cost $100, and the average college student is now spending close to $1000 a year on books and supplies.

So now lets look again at the cost situation. If we buy an ebook reader device for the student to use, then we are looking at a cost of about $100/student, and if we also buy a textbook then that would be another $100/student, making it more expensive to have the ebooks than just textbooks, and I would expect that an ebook device would also only have a usability life in schools of about 5 years. But what if the textbook was free, then it is a zero cost change to switch from a printed science textbook to a digital science textbook, although you will get a weight savings of about 8 or 9 pounds that the student won't have to carry on their back. Then, what if we also switch from a printed math textbook to a digital math textbook that is also free?  That would be an additional cost savings of $100/student, meaning that there is an overall textbook savings - money back into the system for other things. The CK12 ( book resource that is mentioned in the article has the full set of math and science textbooks for middle and high school, with 36 different math books and 35 science texts, along with some others such as US History, Composition, and SAT prep. CK12 textbooks (or flexbooks) are available from their site, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.  CK12 also isn't the only online resource that is putting out digital versions of textbooks for free.

Schools in Texas look to free digital resources amid budget woes
Amid ongoing budget constraints, many Texas teachers are turning to free online resources to enhance instruction in the classroom. Educators are using sites such as, originally designed to provide content for students in impoverished nations, as well as instructional videos posted online by the Khan Academy. Other resources include the Google Art Project, which features images from museums all over the world. The Dallas Morning News (subscription required) (12/5)


  1. Minneapolis school district saved about $175,000 of tax money by writing their own textbook. The savings can be used to provide tools, such as, iPads to students. FlexBooks, of course, can be downloaded for free., visit for details. Online education is a potential goldmine of learning we are sitting on.

  2. very nice blog i have found here to read and to get enjoy about hids and Saving money with digital textbooks so thank you for sharing it with us

  3. summaries and also paraphrases are finest performed by using a capable writing computer software. As the views you can convey in the individual may not be initial, the word what you may be making use of are and they'll be finest offered which has a dose of gloss coming from this type of instrument. See more automatic summarization


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Ebooks as Textbooks - Part 2 - Highlighting

Highlighting can be a very effective tool in reading and learning no matter the kind of text being read: from novels to textbooks.

Most textbooks or other forms of information text will usually used text features along with graphics to help organize information presented in the text.  These elements are done to help focus attention on important or key concepts and provide additional information. The text organization itself can include structural elements such as heading, subheading, index, glossary, paragraph spacing, bulleted or numbered lists, sidebars or side boxes, italics, underlines or bold for words or even sections. Graphic content can include the use of symbols, colors, illustrations, pictures, diagrams, charts, and graphs.
The act of highlighting is less time consuming and much easier than note-taking (to be discussed in an upcoming posting). To be effective in highlighting it should be a kind of metacognitive approach of sifting or filtering to identify the important content…

Ebooks as Textbooks Part 6 - Taking Note

The process of taking notes, makes reading that much more of an active process and will aid in comprehension and retention. The addition of your own personal notes are usually easier to understand and remember than textbook material. As a student reads the textbook, he or she may not remember all of that they read when they have finished - this is especially true of very dense texts. But, if a student reads the information and also writes down notes about what he or she is reading at the same time, then that extra step reinforces that information and improves retention. So one of the best ways to retain information you are reading it is to take notes while you are actually reading it, for print books these notes were usually written in the margins of the text and so were called margin notes. 

The taking of margin notes is a strategy that focuses your attention on important information from the textbook, novels, or articles that you are reading. Because it involves tagging key words or …

Google Maps

An exciting time today, as I was riding my bike to work, I saw the Google Maps Car driving by. You may be wondering what the Google Maps car has to do with ebooks, but often books have maps and Google Books has lots of books with Google Maps developed from extracting the locations from the text. This kind of mapping got me so excited that myself and Jerome Burg wrote a book on using digital mapping with books. But the car reminded me that these maps are out there just waiting for you to start using them. For example if you go to Google Books, and you are reading Vern's Around the World in 80 Days, look in the About this Book section, and then scroll down to see if the book has a Places mentioned in this book... component.

In one class I copied the map from Google Books and then we put it on the wall, so that as we read the book, we tracked where we were in the story on the wall map. One warning though, for some reason the books with maps in Google Books seems to randomly change fr…