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Course book costs slashed by 40% as part of Ebook launch

Published: Wednesday, 18 April 2012   Category: Graduate jobs

UK undergraduates, who are already concerned about mounting costs for their university education, will welcome the launch of a new Ebook service.

US digital textbook rental service CourseSmart makes its debut in the UK today, with former Random House digital director Fionnuala Duggan, who is leading the UK branch of the company, arguing that it will reduce book bills by a healthy figure of 40%.

She added: "It's like a locker based system. You rent the book and can keep it in one of our online 'lockers' so students don't have to have the responsibility of storing it themselves.

"When the company started in 2007, there wasn't cloud or tablets but the business has grown as the technology has developed."

The service hit the American market five years ago and is headed by a group of publishers including Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Macmillan.

CourseSmart aims to have 7,000 titles available for the start of the new academic year in the UK, asking for the support of universities to determine how many texts will be needed for each course.

The system gives the opportunity for students to rent books for a period of six months or more. The books will be stored online and students can even make notes on their copies.

The service has already amassed 2.5 million users across the globe, offering over 20,000 e-textbooks. This makes up roughly 90% of the higher education market in the US.

CourseSmart is currently partnered with 30 publishers in the US, and is planning a similar move in the UK.

E-books have also gained in popularity in the wider market, with booksfree.com and bookswim.com already offering digital book rentals. Similarly, in 2011 Amazon launched a Kindle e-book library where subscribers could sign up to rent books.

If you have recently obtained your first graduate job, you may already be facing a large fee bill. Do you think e-books would have helped to reduce this figure?

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