Textbooks on Your iPad: How to Buy by the Chapter
Buying textbooks by the chapter is a little like ordering off the a la carte menu―if you don't eat too much, you can save a bundle.
Inkling, a San Francisco-based publisher, offers top-selling college textbooks in affordable, bite-sized pieces in iPad-only format. The chapters are priced between $3 and $10 each.
"Professors often assign only half the chapters in a particular book," Eric Pettit, Inkling's vice president of marketing, told TechNewsDaily. "Kids can buy just what they need."
Even student procrastinators win. Thought you didn't need the book? Even if it's the eleventh hour, Inkling chapters download in minutes.
Do the math
The upfront cost of an iPad could be a barrier to some, but purchasing the device could pay off much sooner than you'd think. At $4 each, a student would pay $40 for 10 chapters compared with between $100 and $200 for an entire book. A semester's worth of books could offset the cost of an iPad.
Inkling has partnered with two of the industry's largest education publishers, McGraw-Hill and Pearson. This fall, the company will sell the top 100 undergraduate textbooks. Complete copies built for iPads retail for around 40 percent less than their hard copy counterparts.
Most students are familiar with digital versions of textbooks, which are usually created in a PDF or portable document format. They are usually an exact copy of the textbook with the added ability to highlight text and take notes.
Amazon has announced textbooks rentals for Kindle , but like other e-textbooks, Amazon's have an expiration date and are not available by the chapter. A 30-day rental starts at around $40. Inkling chapters are yours to keep.
Inkling books are created to leverage the features of the iPad, including the tablet's touch interface, video capabilities and real-time interaction. Inkling works with publishers to add a significant amount of new material.
For instance, "Biology" (McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2010) contains more than 40 3-D molecules, 200 videos, 350 enhanced figures and "test yourself" diagrams, and 300 interactive quiz questions.
To try Inkling, download the app from the App Store and select a sample chapter for free. Purchase entire textbooks or just the chapters you need direct from the app.
Students using the same textbook can opt to open their notes and comments to other users, which will then appear in across the linked apps in real time.
It's also an opportunity for professors to add notations in the text for their students.
"Our textbooks are cheaper than the physical and much more engaging," Petitt said. "Kind of makes the physical text seem so '80s."
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