From Inside Higher Ed comes an article about how some university presses are experimenting with extending the concept of textbook rentals to ebooks: “For example, instead of buying a paperback or e-book for $20 at the Stanford University Press website, students and scholars can pay $5 to access an e-book for 14 days, or $10 for 60 days.” Other presses offering similar rental programs include the University of Chicago, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, and Ohio University.
The article says so far, none of the presses are making much money with ebook rentals, but that the real goal is to help get books into the hands of students who can’t afford to buy them, as well as to get students to start thinking of ebooks as a viable option.
While the writing on the wall says digital texts and e-readers are the future, the numbers on the balance sheet say most students and scholars are not choosing digital over print—at least not when it comes to serious reading. E-book sales have risen for a number of university presses in the last six months, but as a percentage of total business they remain in the low- to mid- single digits at most presses.
“E-phemeral E-Books “ [Insider Higher Ed]
(Thanks to Michael von Glahn!)