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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) on CourseSmart, a service now offering e-textbooks for students on the iPhone and iPod touch. The platform consists of a free eTextbooks for the iPhone application [App Store] that interfaces with a student's free CourseSmart account, where the student is able to rent electronic editions of over 7,000 textbooks for his or her iPhone or iPod touch.
The new applications, free for subscribers to CourseSmart LLC, will let students access their full electronic textbooks, read their digital notes and search for specific words and phrases.

"Nobody is going to use their iPhone to do their homework, but this does provide real mobile learning," said Frank Lyman, CourseSmart's executive vice president. "If you're in a study group and you have a question, you can immediately access your text."
Subscriptions are priced at an average of approximately 50% that of corresponding printed editions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and resale is not permitted.
CourseSmart, which was created in 2007 as a joint venture of six higher-education publishers, including McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson PLC's Pearson Education, operates on a subscription model. Typically students rent a book for 180 days; when their subscription expires, they lose access to the title.

The company, which doesn't release financial results, offers its digital books at about 50% of the retail price of the corresponding physical textbook. Although students can't resell their e-textbooks, Mr. Lyman said they typically don't get more than 50% of what they paid for a new book when they resell it.

Article Link: CourseSmart Brings 7,000+ Textbooks to the iPhone and iPod Touch
 

Lesser Evets

macrumors 68040
Jan 7, 2006
3,521
1,283
TURKEY.

If Apple had a larger format, like a TABLET, this might be worth it. Digging around and spending hours squinting at an iPhone for school work is insane.
 

asphyxiafeeling

macrumors regular
May 31, 2008
199
0
Cali baby!
add tablet support (if/when it come out) + an application / website to easily view textbooks on your mac/pc and this will be gold. NO MORE CARRYING BOOKS! :D
 

griz

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
581
221
New London, NH
Now if that's not a reason for Apple to release a tablet, I don't know what is. Can't imagine viewing a text book on my ipod touch screen with any sort of efficiency. Too much panning around and zooming.
 

Rot'nApple

macrumors 65816
Dec 27, 2006
1,152
1
I DID build that!
Now this is an app screaming for the Apple Tablet with it's larger screen. Imagine having not just this semester's course books in your tablet but at the time of your graduation, you have your entire collection of "textbooks" needed to obtain your degree all at hand!

Apple would kill the higher educational market with a product that had apps like this created for the iPhone/iPod Touch. :cool: :apple:

I know there is the Amazon "kindle" "black and white"version but until it get full color, it's not an alternative. Also, the Kindle software would have to be enhanced... imagine having assignments from the profs e-mailed to students. Students who missed class can view a virtual classroom taping via youtube or something. Endless possibilities for a book reader of this sort or for Apple Tablet...
 

RebootD

macrumors 6502a
Jan 27, 2009
737
0
NW Indiana
Agree with the above. Trying to read anything longer than a few paragraphs on any phone is frustrating at best. flick scroll, flick, flick.. oops too far.. flick back up... bleh.
 

kwjohns

macrumors 6502a
Jul 4, 2007
697
12
Renting the book for 180 days? I didn't know they could rape people any worse on textbook costs. :rolleyes:

Just buy your books on something like half.com and save yourself money and have something at the end of class that has actual resell value.
 

devburke

Guest
Oct 16, 2008
1,190
0
So I'm assuming this is an extension of the e-books you already have through them, and you don't have to pay for an additional subscription for iPhone friendly books, right? This last semester I had an e-book through them, and for the most part it was really nice to be rid of one more book (although sometimes I missed the ability to flip back and forth through the pages)
 

BJMRamage

macrumors 68030
Oct 2, 2007
2,600
1,025
resale value if they didn't update the textbook every semester!

good idea here.
 

Moof1904

macrumors 65816
May 20, 2004
1,046
61
It's been a while since I was in college but when I was the textbooks were insanely expensive. I imagine they're even more so now. To the current students out there I ask: is an e version of the textbook at 50% the cost compelling? Wouldn't there be some textbooks that you'd want to own in hard copy for future reference (or nostalgia) purposes?
 

guzhogi

macrumors 68040
Aug 31, 2003
3,394
1,390
Wherever my feet take me…
This is pretty cool. If I were still in school, I might use it. Although, there is something about having a physical book. You can annotate it (highlight, underline, write in margins, etc.) saying that it's your own book of course. While you can annotate Word documents, it's not the same. Plus, when you're done with the book, you can sell it. On the plus side for iPhones, you can make the print bigger/smaller which would be good for people with poor vision.

While cool on an iPhone/iPod Touch, it would be better on a tablet or something. The screens on iPhones are pretty small.

Right now, I don't think I'll get it. Most books that I have are reference manuals for my job (computer helpdesk & administration) so the kind of stuff I want to hold on to for a few years. While expensive at first, I don't have to pay to use them over & over again.
 

Demosthenes X

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2008
1,954
5
Agree with the above. Trying to read anything longer than a few paragraphs on any phone is frustrating at best. flick scroll, flick, flick.. oops too far.. flick back up... bleh.

I've been reading on my iPhone a lot lately using Stanza, and it's a very enjoyable experience. Not as good as a real book, or maybe a Kindle, but very good. And as the developer notes, a perfect format for wanting a quick reference or just to kill some time waiting in line or whatever...
 

andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,365
432
Boston, MA
Renting the book for 180 days? I didn't know they could rape people any worse on textbook costs. :rolleyes:

Just buy your books on something like half.com and save yourself money and have something at the end of class that has actual resell value.

well, i have to agree. what's the point in spending 50 bucks on a biochemistry textbook and lose it after 180 days when you can get a print edition for 100 buck and keep it for life.

well, publishers go broke soon anyway............
 

anubis

macrumors 6502a
Feb 7, 2003
937
50
Subscriptions are priced at an average of approximately 50% that of corresponding printed editions, although the electronic versions typically expire after 180 days and resale is not permitted.

Extreme fail. This makes the textbook no cheaper than buying the physical book. In fact, I would say it's more expensive for the electronic version. For most textbooks, you can buy used and sell used, and you would be out of pocket much, much less than "50% of corresponding printed editions".

Example. New textbook costs $150. That would make the electronic version $75 and I can't sell it back when I'm done. You could buy that same textbook used at the bookstore for about $100 and sell it back for $50 when you're done, for an out-of-pocket cost of $50. And I don't have to squint at a tiny iPhone screen for hours upon hours.

Maybe it's different for other kinds of books, but I primarily used math and engineering textbooks (which themselves are really just math books) throughout college, and looking at a tiny screen full of math equations is not my idea of a good time. There's something about being able to physically flip between pages and having a sense of where certain equations can be found physically within the book; most math books aren't read linearly and there's a lot of flipping back and forth.

When the textbooks are free or only cost like $5 per subscription, then let's talk.
 
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