Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CourseSmart claims that it's saved college students $100 million by comparing apples to oranges

CourseSmart has put out a press release claiming that it's saved college students more than $100 million on eTextbooks and digital course materials since the company was founded in 2007. The press release doesn't say how CourseSmart came up with its savings figure, but it most likely compared the rental price for its eTextbooks with the full retail price of the equivalent print textbooks. The company clains to have 30,000 titles from "more than 33 publishers" (does that mean 34?,) representing over 90% of the core textbooks in use today.

The press release refers to a Book Industry Study Group survey that found that "close to 35% of students considering bookstore exchange or buyback programs say that it is not worth the effort or believe that the bookstore would likely not accept their textbooks." Of course, that means that 65% do believe that it's worth it to sell their textbooks back. The reason that CourseSmart is making this argument is that it only rents its eTextbooks; there's no purchase option, so students have nothing to sell back (or to keep, for that matter) at the end of the semester.
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