Five colleges have announced a new project based on the practice of bulk-purchasing eTextbooks to help curb the expensive costs of textbooks. The participating colleges include Cornell University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Minnesota, the University of Virginia, and the University of Wisconsin. These universities, led by the non-profit organization Internet2, jointly negotiated an eTextbook deal with McGraw-Hill by pooling together the buying power of all five colleges. They are actively trying to bring down the costs of textbook prices instead of waiting for the market to reshape itself.

Under the project, students would no longer need to purchase their own textbooks each semester. Instead, the colleges will require students to pay a course-materials fee that covers the cost of the eTextbooks. The colleges would use this money to acquire the eTextbooks at heavily-discounted prices through a bulk-purchasing deal with publishers.

Currently, only a handful of courses at each campus will pilot the eTextbooks this spring semester. The universities are covering the cost of the eTextbooks for now, but if the project is a success, then the students will eventually be paying the course-materials fee.

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