Ebooks: The Campus Store Weighs In

201girlwithtabletEarlier this year, Dr. Sallie Reissman, Senior Director of Online Learning and Educational Technology gave us her opinion of ebooks and the future of printed material. We asked Carmen Casanova, Manager of the Campus Store, and Rich Knapp, Assistant Manager to share their perspective and tell us about the Campus Store’s electronic offerings.

The Campus Store first offered ebooks to students in the fall of 2010. It was a small test run, with a limited number of titles that included a math text. Four years later, the Campus Store offers a wide selection of texts, mainly from large publishers.

“The publishers give us different options that we pass onto students,” said Knapp, who also serves as the Textbook coordinator for the Campus Store. “E-books are available for 360 and 180 day blocks of time,” he said, “and hopefully, we’ll be able to offer 90 day rentals in the near future.”

Knapp believes that it’s in the best interest of publishers to make the move to ebooks. With electronic resources, there are fewer third parties, and the publisher has much more control over content and revenue. While there are a few courses at Wilmington University that use electronic resources exclusively, Knapp believes there will always be print offerings available.

What excites Knapp about the electronic revolution in the textbook market is the opportunity for student feedback and adaptable content. Ebooks with interactive learning components such as quizzes or problems that can adapt to the students’ needs are becoming the norm. “They’re creating content that can help an A student or a C student succeed,” he said.

Carmen Casanova, Campus Store manager, points out that ebooks have a tremendous advantage for students with visual impairments. “Students can increase the font size or even have the text read to them.”

Ebook sales have recently leveled off nationally (Yahoo Finance article), and the Wilmington University Campus Store has also noticed a leveling off of demand for electronic media.

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