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  • Amazon Lets Students Rent Kindle Textbooks, iBooks Left in Dust



    Amazon left Apple's iBooks in the dust today and unveiled a textbook rental service for students via the company's Kindle e-reader and Kindle apps.

    The service lets students rent textbooks from 30 days to a year, and rental periods can be extended in one-day increments. The service falls under Amazons purchase-once-view-everywhere program. Students can view their highlights, annotations, and other markings across the full range of Kindle apps and e-readers including iOS devices.

    However, giving students the option to rent the book weeks or even days before the end of a class, or before midterms means students could cram like no other. Most college students' decision making process doesn't revolve around saving money and time for class, but rather how to save time and money for extra curricular activities outside of class.

    Whether students utilize the textbook rentals to their advantage the savings is extreme, in some cases as much as 80% cheaper than buying the same books. Apple's iBooks has none of the annotation or highlighting features that Amazon's Kindle and Kindle apps do. Apple's playing catchup in a very important sector, higher-education.

    Source: CNET
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Amazon Lets Students Rent Kindle Textbooks, iBooks Left in Dust started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 11 Comments
    1. SwatPac's Avatar
      SwatPac -
      Are E-Books even that popular? Buying an E-Book has never even crossed my mind. I would rather have a nice hardcover book. There is nothing wrong with hitting the library like people used to do in the old days either. Wow, I sound like an 80 year old grandfather.
    1. alien mars18's Avatar
      alien mars18 -
      Quote Originally Posted by SwatPac View Post
      Are E-Books even that popular? Buying an E-Book has never even crossed my mind. I would rather have a nice hardcover book. There is nothing wrong with hitting the library like people used to do in the old days either. Wow, I sound like an 80 year old grandfather.
      The thing though, in this case, is that these books sometimes 200+ dollars. Multiplied by 4, you've got 4 books you'll use a semester, maybe 2. And selling that book sometimes means losing 30%, plus time.
    1. bdwayneh's Avatar
      bdwayneh -
      Quote Originally Posted by SwatPac View Post
      Are E-Books even that popular? Buying an E-Book has never even crossed my mind. I would rather have a nice hardcover book. There is nothing wrong with hitting the library like people used to do in the old days either. Wow, I sound like an 80 year old grandfather.
      For me yes this is huge. I go to college full time and carrying 2 books (sometimes 3 depending on what day it is) makes my book bag heavy as crap if I can carry my ipad around instead and it is also cheaper sounds like a great idea to me (most college text books you can't get at a library and normally are well over 100 bucks each to purchase)
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Leaving a component of Apple "in the dust"? There's something u don't hear everyday.

      Well done Amazon!
    1. domenicp's Avatar
      domenicp -
      Would it be that difficult for Apple to add this to iBooks? I don't think it would given that they already have a content rental model in iTunes with movies.
    1. trixster's Avatar
      trixster -
      Quote Originally Posted by SwatPac View Post
      Are E-Books even that popular? Buying an E-Book has never even crossed my mind. I would rather have a nice hardcover book. There is nothing wrong with hitting the library like people used to do in the old days either. Wow, I sound like an 80 year old grandfather.
      Say it isn't so SwatPac! You live near the second largest university in the country (UCF).
      The books that aren't written by the professor giving the class usually cost quite a bit, and the return amounts on them are 50% at best, if you can return it at all.

      Aside from that, an e-reader (note: not the ipad, iphone, etc) gives the same crisp text with e-ink that a book would, but no more needing to fold pages, carry around akward different sized books. I guess the only real downside is you can't help that cute co-ed pick-up the books she dropped anymore.

      I exclude the iDevices above because they are backlit and cause headaches like crazy. Though with syncing your edits and annotations across platforms, maybe I'll add them back in for that "well i only have my ___ with me" moment.
    1. Trooper Sam's Avatar
      Trooper Sam -
      Given the rising expense of schooling, I would look at e-textbooks as a real blessing! Not to mention, reducing the weight of that bookbag!
    1. Axecaster's Avatar
      Axecaster -
      Quote Originally Posted by Trooper Sam View Post
      Given the rising expense of schooling, I would look at e-textbooks as a real blessing! Not to mention, reducing the weight of that bookbag!
      Cost advantages aside, there's still something about the tactile part of learning with unique physical textbooks compared to e-books.
    1. DaLsim's Avatar
      DaLsim -
      apple playing catchup, copy ur idea and sue u for copying them...
    1. scottw03's Avatar
      scottw03 -
      Quote Originally Posted by trixster View Post
      Say it isn't so SwatPac! You live near the second largest university in the country (UCF).
      The books that aren't written by the professor giving the class usually cost quite a bit, and the return amounts on them are 50% at best, if you can return it at all.

      Aside from that, an e-reader (note: not the ipad, iphone, etc) gives the same crisp text with e-ink that a book would, but no more needing to fold pages, carry around akward different sized books. I guess the only real downside is you can't help that cute co-ed pick-up the books she dropped anymore.

      I exclude the iDevices above because they are backlit and cause headaches like crazy. Though with syncing your edits and annotations across platforms, maybe I'll add them back in for that "well i only have my ___ with me" moment.
      I use the Kindle app on my iPad more than my iBooks app. iBooks I use mostly for PDF files that I download to it. Kindle is where most of my books reside. As for the kindle app on the iPad hurting your eyes, have you tried to change the screens color to sepia or black with white words and dim the screen brightness a bit? I did that on mine and made it 100 times better to read on. As for taking the iPad to school versus a backpack of books, I will take the iPad.
    1. cmwade77's Avatar
      cmwade77 -
      @SwatPac - Trust me, ebooks are much better than a hard cover book. With a Kindle, you can carry around 3,500 books with you, takes up much less space in your house than a library full of books. In addition, Amazon offers many books for free and others are substantially cheaper than the printed versions. Add to that what it saves when it comes to the environment by not cutting down trees, shipping, heavy books (to a store or to your house, either way takes gas) and we have a clear winner. That doesn't even take into account that they can also do things with eBooks that you could never do with real books, such as include Audio and Video in the middle of the book. Yes you could attach DVDs/CDs, but it's not the same. Then add that the kindle can read most books to you, turning cheap ebooks into audiobooks for when you are driving. The list goes on and on.

      As for Amazon, I think they have been leaving Apple in the dust a bit lately, first the Cloud Music Player (which based on what I have seen is till much, much better than Apple's version as you can stream with Amazon's version, making storage space on your devices virtually unlimited when it comes to music) and now the text book rentals.