As interest grows in the digital-textbook arena, one of the
providers of e-textbook subscriptions has announced plans to make over 7,000
titles accessible via Apple’s iPhone
and iPod Touch. The new applications that enable the
access will be free to subscribers of CourseSmart LLC. The apps let students access
full electronic textbooks, read digital notes, and search for specific words
This isn’t the first instance we’ve heard of eBooks and
eBook readers targeting college students—not long ago, Amazon announced its
$489 large-screen Kindle DX e-reader
. In combination with the announcement,
Amazon is launching a trial program at seven colleges this fall that will
experiment with hundreds of students reading textbooks digitally on the
readers. In addition, McGraw-Hill Education has announced plans to make about
100 college textbooks available for use on Amazon's Kindle and Kindle DX.
The CourseSmart titles that will be available for the iPhone
and iPod Touch
are not currently available on Amazon’s Kindle devices. CourseSmart was created
in 2007as a joint venture of six higher-education publishers including
McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson PLC's Pearson Education. The company
typically operates on a subscription model where students rent a book for 180 days.
The company offers its digital books at about 50% of the retail price of the
"Textbooks are the missing link in the e-reader content
base," said Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, Inc.
"The problem so far is that college students haven't really been
interested in reading on their laptops. The iPhone will help create excitement
and generate awareness of e-textbooks."