Indiana University

News Release

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last modified: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pioneering agreements will reduce cost of eTexts for IU students

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Sept. 6, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University announced today (Sept. 6) that it has signed agreements to dramatically reduce the costs of digital textbooks for students on all of its campuses.

The agreements -- with publishers John Wiley & Sons Inc.; Bedford Freeman & Worth Publishing Group; W.W. Norton; and Flat World Knowledge -- will provide students substantial cost-savings, the ability to access digital or printed hard copies, and uninterrupted access to all of their eTexts while they are a student at IU.

Indiana-based company Courseload was selected to provide the software for students to read and annotate their eTexts. The software integrates directly with IU's Oncourse system and enables students to tag, search, collaborate as a study group or view multimedia on any computer or mobile device. Additionally, faculty who opt to use the software will have the ability to integrate notes, links and annotations on students' eTexts.

"IU's model ensures that students will benefit from the cost-savings and educational possibilities of eTexts and other online materials as their preferences shift to a blend of digital and print," said Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology and professor in the Kelley School of Business. "eTexts on computers and mobile devices are opening up new opportunities for teaching and learning, and the IU agreements give faculty new options for lower-cost, high-quality course materials."

For some eTexts, IU's new agreements may save students almost two-thirds off the retail price of a new book or up to half off the cost of current eTexts offerings, many of which come with various restrictions on how they can be used, Wheeler said.

IU student leaders have expressed their support for the new agreements and their potential for significant cost-savings.

"Current eText offerings often cost more than used books or rentals, have too many restrictions and often expire after a limited period of use," said Corey Ariss, undergraduate student president at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "IU's eText approach solves many of these problems, and the ability to search and annotate a text is excellent."

Justin Kingsolver, president of the IU Student Association in Bloomington, said, "IUSA is proud to lend our support to this initiative because of its commitment to cutting textbook costs to IU students and maintaining a proactive approach to sustainability issues."

The IU agreements evolved from a formal RFP purchasing process that followed two years of pilot-testing eTexts with students and faculty. The publishers are able to provide a substantial discount and reduced eText restrictions in exchange for a much lower, guaranteed eText fee from each student who is enrolled in a course section that adopts a particular eText. IU has adopted a similar model in terms of software agreements it has made with Adobe and Microsoft.

Students will know at the time of enrollment if a particular course section uses an eText and will be able to view their eTexts alongside the course syllabus, calendar and other course tools.

Joshua Davis, an IU Bloomington senior from Ohio, participated in the eText pilot as part of his astronomy course. "Using eTexts was an entirely new experience for me," he said, "but the Courseload software in Oncourse was simple to learn and provided an efficient way for me to keep my notes organized for class. I was able to access my textbook remotely, both online and offline -- plus, I didn't have to lug another heavy book around campus. I just purchased my textbooks for fall and spent around $800. I think this transition can't happen soon enough."

The IU agreements ensure that students won't have to choose between a digital or print version of their course materials. Students can choose to access their eTexts in digital and/or print formats, and there will be a print-on-demand option for students who prefer a hardcopy of an eText to keep after graduation.

Courseload has worked very closely with IU's world-class Adaptive Technology and Accessibility Center to ensure that the software is accessible for students with disabilities.

Faculty will continue to have the option to choose any course materials they wish. At this time, the discounted eTexts from these publishers, freely available open courseware, some licensed content from IU Libraries, and faculty compilations of readings can all be delivered via the Courseload software.

IU remains in many conversations regarding the future of eTexts. Officials anticipate that IU's eText model will be attractive to other publishers over time, Wheeler said.

For more detailed information on IU's eTexts initiative, frequently asked questions and information on how to order an eText for the 2012 spring semester, visit:

For more information, please contact Nik Osborne, Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, at or Erin Wray, Courseload, at

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