Reselling used E-textbooks?

Hello everybody! I thought I’d kick off the class blog with an issue that, as students currently enrolled in higher education, concerns us all. If we are inevitably going to be forced to buy electronic copies of our college textbooks, why can’t we resell those E-textbooks as we would a regular hardback textbook? I am always trying to get a little bit of my money back from my wildly overpriced textbooks and, I don’t know about the rest of you, I wouldn’t want an electronic copy of my 783-page Psychology 101 textbook haunting my E-reader for all eternity.

I’ve been scrolling through some of the articles on our resource page over my morning coffee and I found a couple very interesting topics. On Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 blog, Mr. Wikert brings up the very interesting concept of being able to resell your used e-books. In his blog titled, “Why a Used Ebook Ecosystem Makes Sense,” Wikert discusses a start up company that is looking to eventually help E-book owners resell the books they don’t intend on reading again. While I am unsure if there would be a market for used e-books, (how do they differ from new e-books and how can you make them cheaper?) I believe the idea to be logically sound and potentially a big motivator for me to finally buy an e-reader. If I spend ten dollars on a paper book, I can then turn around and give it to a friend or sell it for three dollars at a used bookstore. Why shouldn’t I be able to manipulate my e-book purchases as well?

I wasn’t incredibly excited about this idea until I came across an article by Stephanie Brooks titled, “Should Universities Force E-textbooks on Students?” Apparently, according to Brooks, some colleges are already making E-textbooks mandatory. If I were still an undergraduate and regularly purchasing textbooks costing $100 or more, this decision would make me outraged simply because of my inability to trade and resell those E-textbooks the way I can regular textbooks. Brooks goes on to explain why the current generation isn’t ready for an E-textbook only college experience, and I agree with her here. However, she is also confident that as the up and coming generations who have had exposure to electronic reading devices as young as kindergarten age (eek!) approach their college education, they are going to prefer the E-textbook format simply because it is what they are accustomed to ( 😦 ) . I guess my question to all of you and to the up and comers would be; Are you willing to buy overpriced E-textbooks if you cannot resell them or at least trade them in for the newer (and required) edition that will come out next week?


If you’d like to read on about these topics, here are the links.

Joe Wikert’s article “Why a Used Ebook Ecosystem Makes Sense”

Stephanie Brooks’ article: “Should Universities Force E-textbooks on Students?”…

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