Friday, February 3, 2012

E-Book Exploration--What's My Choice?

McGraw Hill's Connect
Son asked me to pay for this textbook he needed for his school: Business Driven Information System 3rd edition by Paige Baltzan. He gave me the link and login information to access the e-book trial version from  Like any parents, I started to think if there were any ways I could save some money. My first  thought was to check the book availability from his school's library, but no luck. I started looking around, here are my options:

1) Purchase from McGraw-Hill that provides two choices
  • Connect Plus: $96
  • Connect: $39.99
No matter which version I choose, the online access to the book will expire on July 30, 2012. I won't own the book. 

2) Purchase paper copy from
  • Used: $101.38
  • New: $143.85
I will get 50% cash back when the books are returned to the site by June 30, 2012.

3) Purchase from
4) Purchase from, accessible only on iPad
  • Entire book: $139.99
  • One chapter: $21.99
Later I found out. I really didn't have any choice but pay for the Connect Plus from McGraw Hill. Why? Because it's a required textbook version from the instructor. Look at McGraw Hill's ads about its Connect, which has so many attractive build-in features and tools that any instructor, I'm afraid, can resist taking it.  It ties coursework closely with the e-book content and saves instructor lots of time. I can see this really as a publisher driven model that has nothing to do with the library. They aim directly to the instructor. I guess, the publisher might even provide a free copy for the instructor to use for the course. In return the instructor might require the entire class to buy a Connect ebook. When the instructor wants it, the student won't have any choices, will they?

Looking at this model, questions swept through my mind: What's the library future for electronic books? Who are the driven force for electronic books? What can or should libraries do about this, ignore, accept, or do something? What's the best for students?