Some school bookstores have had comprehensive E-textbook programs in place for several years, but only a few offer options for custom, digital course materials. San Diego State University, for instance, has offered E-textbooks since 2007 through partnerships with publishers like McGraw-Hill and Pearson in which students can buy full digital textbooks or individual chapters at a price far lower than the hard copies.
The prices are enticing to students now, says Todd Summer, director of SDSU's campus stores division, but he feels growth will be pushed by advances in technology. "Right now students are making the decision to use E-textbooks based on price," he says. "But in the future it'll be more of a decision based on the way they prefer to learn and [whether] the materials will be more vibrant and interactive."
Leaders at numerous other schools are planning, or have already begun, to make a significant push into offering digital course materials, says Tuck's Lubrano. "Everybody is talking about this," he notes. "This is the future. The question is, how soon do we get there?"
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