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Old 08-10-2009, 05:06 PM   #1
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CourseSmart takes on Kindle, puts textbooks on iPhone

They're hugely different devices, sure, but could the iPhone be stepping on the Kindle's toes again? CourseSmart, which offers subsciption-based, notes-capable eBooks online, has released a full-featured iPhone app for their subscribers. In other words, yes. The app is free, but you'll need preexisting subscriptions to textbooks in order to access any. It's actually a shrewd, if somewhat obvious move for CourseSmart: lots of college kids have iPhones and iPod Touches, and while taking notes and reading long passages might be a little cumbersome on such a tiny screen, the ability to carry all your books in-pocket, complete with search and bookmarking capabilities, is a pretty big value-add.
As far back as May, it was clear that Amazon was pursuing CourseSmart for e-textbook content, an effort that may have culminated in a wimpy partnership with McGraw-Hill—a CourseSmart partner—which netted the ebook reader, and specifically the textbook-reader DX, about 100 regular old e-textbooks. This looks like something of a snub to me, or maybe just a lack of initiative on Amazon's part, but I get the feeling there's a still a lot going on behind closed doors here.

Via Gizmodo

More info here:


http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/s...10/daily9.html


Last edited by Madam Broshkina; 08-10-2009 at 06:57 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention Gizmodo
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:11 PM   #2
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CourseSmart, which offers subsciption-based, notes-capable eBooks online
_Fail_
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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I do not think that a subscription based system is such a bad deal for text books. A lot of students tend to sell their books at a loss when they are finished with them anyway. Since the text books are advertised at 50 percent off the normal hard cover price the costs may work out in the end. Plus you have the ability to search through the text. I would much rather have all my text books on a netbook rather then carry a bunch of hard copies around.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina View Post
I do not think that a subscription based system is such a bad deal for text books. A lot of students tend to sell their books at a loss when they are finished with them anyway. Since the text books are advertised at 50 percent off the normal hard cover price the costs may work out in the end. Plus you have the ability to search through the text. I would much rather have all my text books on a netbook rather then carry a bunch of hard copies around.
While I see your point, I think having my notes anchored to a subscription book might be problematic. Additionally, with a subscription, if I can't pay one month, my textbook goes poof? That's something I'd be concerned about, especially from the perspective of a college student (unless subscriptions come in 12 week increments)

There's also a potential problem to overcome of using your phone for school-work and looking like you're texting. When I was most recently in school (last year) many of my classrooms had banned cell phones. I don't know how policies are shaping up now, but I presume they're not far off. Schools (in this case) have incentive to block the use of texts coming from a non-bookstore source as it's loss of sale...

None-the-less, I'm glad to see Textbook publishers reaching out and trying new business options. Someone's trying to come into the 21st century.
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Old 08-10-2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina View Post
I do not think that a subscription based system is such a bad deal for text books. A lot of students tend to sell their books at a loss when they are finished with them anyway. Since the text books are advertised at 50 percent off the normal hard cover price the costs may work out in the end. Plus you have the ability to search through the text. I would much rather have all my text books on a netbook rather then carry a bunch of hard copies around.
The only people who pay full price for textbooks are the foolish and the uninformed. I usually buy my textbooks online used, but in a good enough condition that I can sell them back to the bookstore. I almost never pay more than 75%, so my actual cost is around 25% of the retail price.

I just checked, and most of the subscriptions from CourseSmart can be had for about 50% of the retail price of the book. But since I pay less than full retail for my textbooks it's not all that great of a deal.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sircastor View Post
While I see your point, I think having my notes anchored to a subscription book might be problematic. Additionally, with a subscription, if I can't pay one month, my textbook goes poof? That's something I'd be concerned about, especially from the perspective of a college student (unless subscriptions come in 12 week increments)

There's also a potential problem to overcome of using your phone for school-work and looking like you're texting. When I was most recently in school (last year) many of my classrooms had banned cell phones. I don't know how policies are shaping up now, but I presume they're not far off. Schools (in this case) have incentive to block the use of texts coming from a non-bookstore source as it's loss of sale...

None-the-less, I'm glad to see Textbook publishers reaching out and trying new business options. Someone's trying to come into the 21st century.
You do not pay a month to month price. It is a one time charge-most subscriptions last 6 months.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madam Broshkina View Post
I do not think that a subscription based system is such a bad deal for text books. A lot of students tend to sell their books at a loss when they are finished with them anyway. Since the text books are advertised at 50 percent off the normal hard cover price the costs may work out in the end. Plus you have the ability to search through the text. I would much rather have all my text books on a netbook rather then carry a bunch of hard copies around.
+1.

There's actually a service that kinda does that already. I forgot the name of the website (chapter1?), but you can "rent" individual, specific chapters of a textbook for like $5 each, and your downloaded copy is good for 6 months (or maybe a year, I can't remember). You're also allowed to print out the chapters (an infinite number of times, I believe). The program just prints out your name at the top of each page.

Sure, it ends up costing more than the actual book if you need to buy all the chapters, but I've noticed you usually only need parts of the book. There's also the plus factor of only needing to carry either your laptop (digital copy), or a few sheets of paper (print-outs) to class. That's what I did for my math class. We only needed like 3 or 4 chapters from the textbook and I was kinda running out of time - put off buying it until last minute, when I checked the bookstores, it was already out of stock and I had homework to submit the next day. I bought a chapter since it's an emergency, with the intention of buying a physical copy of the textbook. The service worked pretty well for me that I just bought the remaining chapters from the website, too.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:20 PM   #8
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Found the info. The website is http://www.ichapters.com/

Correction to my earlier post - you can buy the whole e-textbook for 50% off. It's only if you buy individual chapters that it ends up being more expensive. Expiration for full textbooks are longer, too, I think.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:28 PM   #9
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Madam..

Umm.. You forgot to put in a reference to gizmodo.com because you just copied the text from their site. Either that or they copied you. I think you should email them, if they copied you.

http://gizmodo.com/5334060/coursesma...-store#comment

Sorry, I'm in college and they teach us always to reference your source material and use quotes.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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Umm.. You forgot to put in a reference to gizmodo.com because you just copied the text from their site. Either that or they copied you. I think you should email them, if they copied you.

http://gizmodo.com/5334060/coursesma...-store#comment

Sorry, I'm in college and they teach us always to reference your source material and use quotes.
Your right I meant to copy the site that I linked originally.

Last edited by Madam Broshkina; 08-10-2009 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:52 PM   #11
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Lately my daughter has been getting her books at Chegg.com where they 'rent' you the textbook for the term.

I just compared the Chegg price and CourseSmart for one of her accounting textbooks and Chegg was cheaper: $80.91 to $105.49.
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Old 10-29-2009, 09:07 AM   #12
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reading coursesmart ebooks on kindle and pc is fine but on mobile, its difficult to read.....
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