Monday, May 23, 2011

Nature's $49 eTextbook

The financial times is reporting that on Tuesday Nature publishing will announce an experimental eTextbook offering pricing an electronic textbook at $49 for lifetime usage including frequent updates to the content. More from the FT:

The inaugural textbook in this new programme, Principles of Biology, will be used by three California State University campuses beginning this autumn.

Gerry Hanley, senior director for academic technology services at Cal State, said the university intended to expand the programme. On two campuses, students will be responsible for purchasing the digital textbook di from Nature. The third Cal State campus will purchase a site licence for the textbook and pass the cost along to students, a model similar to the way academic journals are sold.

The transition from an ownership model to an access model is already upending the music and film businesses, and Nature believes textbooks could be next. The textbook business is already under assault from websites such as, which match buyers and sellers of used textbooks. Nature’s new programme could provide yet another hitch.


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