Monday, July 18, 2011

Textbook Rental on Amazon Kindle

I just saw on Fox Business that you can now rent textbooks on the Kindle. I went over to Amazon to check it out and read this:
Kindle Textbook Rental is a flexible and affordable way to read textbooks. You can rent for the minimum length, typically 30 days, and save up to 80% off the print list price. If you find you need your textbook longer, you can extend your rental by as little as 1 day as many times as you want and just pay for the added days.

Given the price of textbooks these days, this seems to be a great idea. Where was this when I was in college?


Blogger Doom said...

I suppose it would be great for a majority of degrees. Those degrees where you are taught things you will never need. Keep the grade, drop the book and information. Or was that keep the cannoli? But for some degrees, this is horrible. People will be required to use the e-book version, eventually. This will mean their reference library disappears. I don't want an e-reference library. That is simply too... risky. One emp blast, a hacker who changes things, a company which suddenly decides to take back information (or a court), or even a government which decides certain information is now off limits... All or important parts could be gone at the speed of light.

I suppose one could create their own reference library more cheaply (possibly) using other sources. But those reference wouldn't have been involved with their education, and would have to be learned as tools, on top of what was learned in school and what is required at work.

Though my interest in academics is electrical engineering, either because I don't know enough yet or because I know too much... I don't trust everything being electrical, digital, networked. Uhrm, those things are gimmicks, albeit one that sometimes do little wonders. I don't know, just a thought.

3:26 PM, July 18, 2011  
Blogger Physics Geek said...

I see a problem here: it's easy to remove DRM from a Kindle or Nook book. What's to prevent people from doing so while "renting"?

4:13 PM, July 18, 2011  
Blogger Leatherwing said...

Renting is already what many students do. They buy a textbook (used if available) and sell it back at the end of the semester. Of course, the overall cost is more than the 20% Amazon claims, but 30 days does not equal a full semester.

As Doom pointed out, this isn't a great option if you want to keep the book for future reference. Also, there are many times that I find myself with three or more open books while working through a software problem, not to mention having two or three sections bookmarked and flipping between them rapidly. Even with multiple Kindles, I can't see it being a good substitute for a textbook, at least not in the sciences. Maybe in the humanities departments?

8:51 PM, July 18, 2011  
Blogger kmg said...


A mainstream TV show is actually laughing that a man got brutally castrated :

Not just the hosts, but the entire audience.

This is the sort of thing that makes men decide that Islam taking over the West is not men's problem, but women's.

1:07 AM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:50 AM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

That's how you complain to CBS.

1:55 AM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger Ern said...

Dr. Helen -

I don't think that Al Gore had yet invented the internet when you were in school.

8:04 AM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

Doom makes an important point about emp and data. But the benefits of an ebook for textbooks seem really strong. They would be easy to update and correct, much cheaper since there is no printing involved, and so much easier to lug around.


10:20 AM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Oh, did you say 80% cheaper for a month? I think all of my classes were over 3 months. The shortest summer classes were 6 weeks! If there is no deal in multiple rentals, that makes the rental... 3 x 20% = 60% of new text prices, plus any day rentals maybe during the last weeks and finals (which would make it probably cheaper to rent a full extra month, taking it down to... 80% of new text prices!)!

Plus, God forbid you put notes on the thing then get too busy and forget to pay. Though perhaps you can save the notes and most colleges have wifi through which to pay? I don't know, I think it's a scam. Then again, the whole program (college) around it is, so why should this be different. Make it sound good, enough idiots will bite for the money makers to make a buck. When people stop, as they realize what a rip off they just bought into, the company isn't out any hardware or software even actually, and only a small book negotiating and sales staff. (which they paid minimum wage, going over that pay only for the highest sellers) Not bad, in a world of suckers... Until, unless, the colleges get a chunk of it, then it will become mandatory. Bah!

The more I think of this the more I realize whoever did suggest that there is a sucker born a minute was a fool, they are hatched like flies.

2:56 PM, July 19, 2011  
Blogger Kim said...

Doom, even at 80% of full retail, it's a considerable saving when the stupid book costs $400.

Speaking as a current student, THAT'S what gets me in the craw: when one needs to fork out a boatload of $$$ for a single-semester elective or mandatory science course... but of course, the whole faculty / textbook publishing racket makes Al Capone look small-time.

12:04 PM, July 21, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

Hmm, in engineering I never had a one-off book cost anything like that, new. I think the most expensive book I saw was... $250, and that was a book that took me from eng. calc I through vector calc. Then again, I didn't see the new books for the new courses, a prof book computer 'learnt' calc/math/computer program now replacing real calculus and more about data input and industry use of computers than about calculus. That was only a few years ago, too. Hmm? Private school?

Oh, yeah, and I think profs even often get their books published by the schools, which means essentially that they get way more than they should while the taxpayer gets shafted, as usual, to boot. As soon as profs figured out they could hook up with the school to shaft tax payers and students both in a larceny like scheme, the game was up on that. What was that about cutting waste, fraud, and abuse? School, and medicine, would be excellent places to start.

I definitely hope you aren't in to huge "education" loans, or at least aren't getting a degree in English lit or history, or philosophy, or social work, or...? *whimper*

2:49 PM, July 21, 2011  
Blogger Jim said...

I teach accounting part time at a local college. The textbook for the first basic accounting courses is over $200. Many of my students have rented the textbook at a much lower cost. I am trying to get my college to adopt an e-textbook which would be at a much lower cost. A typical full time student will spend $5,000 in text materials to get a BA degree. This is way too much. I am excited about using e-textbooks and I can't wait to see all of these big publishing companies bite the dust. Sell your stock in Prentice Hall et al.

8:44 PM, July 21, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

You can reduce the cost of your text books by about the same amount simply by selling them back to the bookstore at the end of the term. But frankly, I would no more get rid of my text books than I would rent them. The idea that they are of no use after the class has concluded is very short-sighted.

12:50 AM, July 25, 2011  

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