May 23, 2022

University of Michigan Eyes e-Books as a Way to Lower Soaring Textbook Costs


The University of Michigan is considering widely embracing electronic textbooks in the coming years.

But how cost effective will a move toward the 21st century version of the classic textbook be?

U-M librarian Paul Courant estimates that a typical e-book costs between 20 and 30 percent less than its printed counterparts. But he says it’s possible to lower costs further.


Recently released results of a new study by Daytona State College [full text below] show that while most students realize some level of cost savings when buying electronic textbooks, some e-books are nearly as expensive as traditional books.

The study found that in one economics course, e-books were generally about half as expensive as print books. In another economics class, however, the electronic version of a textbook was just $1 cheaper than its printed counterpart.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to “A Study of Four Textbook Distribution Models” (via EDUCAUSE Quarterly)

See Also: Editorial: “Online textbooks could work for California” (via LA Times)

See Also: More About eTextbooks at Daytona St. University

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.