In order to save money for cash-strapped students, the University of Michigan is considering the adoption of eTextbooks for many of its courses in the future. Despite the troubling results from a recent Daytona State College study, the University of Michigan is planning to base their eTextbook program off of Indiana University’s eTextbook model which is currently being implemented in the 2012 spring semester.

Indiana University has had positive feedback from its eTextbook pilot programs that started in 2009, stating that the majority of students preferred electronic textbooks over traditional printed books. Last year, Indiana University was able to negotiate a partnership with one of the most powerful entities in the textbook industry, McGraw-Hill Higher Education. It allowed for 50 percent savings on eTextbooks sold through the school and students would be able to access these materials until they graduated.  However, the deal came with a price: many of the courses now require students to purchase eTextbooks. By forcing students to buy the electronic version of the textbook, the school is able to negotiate for cheaper prices with book publishers because they can guarantee a high number of purchases.

The University of Michigan wants to organize a similar eTextbook program that can negotiate with publishers for cheaper prices by using their student body of 42,000 as powerful leverage. The school will not force professors to choose electronic books over printed books for their courses, but they will encourage them to adopt eTextbooks by emphasizing the benefits.

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