New E-Textbook Model Helps Students and Publishers

The University of Texas is trying out a new e-textbook initiative that they say could “fundamentally change the industry”.

Tentatively dubbed the e-book initiative, UT will pay for electronic copies of textbooks for students in certain classes, starting in the spring. The initiative treats the e-books, which students can download onto their computers, like software, for which UT pays a licensing fee. Initially, students in those classes will use the e-books for free. If the program, which campus and industry officials say has been tried at other schools, is successful, students would pay $25 to $40 a book in licensing fees.

UT says this new model is only going to help higher ed. publishers due to the large circulation of used textbooks in the market. Unlike during the resale of used books, publishers will get royalties every time an e-book is purchasedso individual students save money while publishers and authors get paid.

Thanks to Ars Technica for the link.