For Educators Considering Self-Publishing, e-Books are Often the Best Route

July 6, 2010

OAK BROOK, Ill., July 6 /PRNewswire/ — It’s a familiar feeling for many educators: one of the course materials they’ve chosen isn’t quite right for the class. The focus is a little off, the examples don’t resonate with their particular students, or recent developments in the field aren’t included.

Although the solution, self-publishing, used to be onerous, the rise of digital textbooks has radically simplified the endeavor. Creating, distributing and assigning a digital textbook can be far easier and more cost-effective than faculty may realize, Follett Higher Education Group (FHEG) explained today.

Consider Brigham Young University Sport Psychologist Ron Chamberlain PhD, who offers classes a digital version of “Ready to Play: Mental Training for Student-Athletes” via FHEG’s CafeScribe eBook platform. “I wrote the textbook to synthesize for my students all I had learned in research, instruction and one-on-one counseling of student athletes,” Chamberlain said. “I wanted it to be both informative academically and useful for athletes trying to improve their performance. Self-publishing with the CafeScribe platform is easy, low overhead, right for the times. Our class is virtually paperless right through the final exam. Since you don’t have to deal with printing, shipping, storage and other overhead in a digital textbook, you don’t have to weigh the financial risk of offering the valuable information you have to impart. It’s no risk. You simply do it.”

Digital textbooks give students choice, affordability, coherence and currency. When Chamberlain wrote a second edition of his book to update his research and experience, he just sent the PDF to Follett, and the new edition was available instantly online.

Although “Ready to Play” is available as a traditionally bound book, he encourages students to use the digital version since every other aspect of their learning is digitized. Three out of four students never miss the paper version, a class survey revealed. Students can search, highlight, bookmark and annotate e-textbooks, as well as share notes and discuss topics with peers, both in their classroom and around the world.

Brigham Young University-Idaho views self-publishing as a way to provide affordable options for students, a revenue source for faculty (where permitted), and a central role for the bookstore in a digital age. One of the store’s first self-publishing initiatives is using the CafeScribe platform to distribute “Inner Victory,” a popular business leadership text published by Professor David Christensen.

“Our goal is to be the go-to source for the university no matter what kind of book students want or what kind of course materials a professor wants to distribute,” said Systems Administrator Ben Stoddard. “We now have a service to create digital books whether authored by a faculty member, co-authored by a department, or assembled from a variety of sources. It’s very straightforward. We send a PDF manuscript to Follett, and they post the book online.”

Florida State College at Jacksonville is using the CafeScribe platform to self-publish digital textbooks offered at an unusually affordable price of less than $50 per book. The textbooks are general education textbooks that faculty teams are writing from the ground up for use by any student at any school. “Florida State College at Jacksonville is applying the latest research on teaching, learning and motivation in every phase of textbook and course development,” said Dr. Jack Chambers, chief operating officer for Florida State College at Jacksonville’s SIRIUS® course development project. “The CafeScribe platform offers students highly interactive capabilities they lack with traditional textbooks, other digital textbooks or e-readers, making it a great foundation for further improving the learning experience.”

Juniata College, a private liberal arts college in central Pennsylvania, has just published its comprehensive guide to campus computing technologies as an e-textbook on the CafeScribe platform. The 200-page Information Access Guide, required for every incoming student, is selling for $9.95, or less than half the $21 cost of the now-defunct printed version.

“This is a quadruple win for us,” said Juniata Campus Bookstore Manager Jeremy Santos. “We’re saving paper, which is very important for us as a campus committed to sustainability. We’re making books more affordable for the student. Even at the lower price, a few dollars go back to the hardworking people who develop the content every year. And every student experiences the eBook alternative from the start of their Juniata experience.”

These are just a few of the ways digital distribution is making self-publishing economically and logistically viable, promising more choice, affordability, coherence and currency. “Every institution, educator, course and classroom is unique,” said Bryce Johnson, Follett’s director of eTextbook solutions. “We want to ensure that educators can tailor their learning material to the specific needs of their students, and digital is proving to be a great strategy.”

About CafeScribe

The CafeScribe eBook platform is an e-textbook and social networking platform for students and educators. The platform is the latest addition to Follett’s broad portfolio of course material options for students, available online and at more than 850 college bookstores operated by Follett in the United States and Canada. For more information, visit www.cafescribe.com.

About Follett Higher Education Group

Follett Higher Education Group of Oak Brook, Illinois, is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America. Follett services five million students and over 400,000 faculty members through more than 850 stores. Follett also services more than 1,600 independent campus stores with its wholesale services, and has the most visited ecommerce collegiate website, efollett.com, that provides services and products through a network of more than 900 campus stores.

About Follett

Follett Corporation is a $2.7 billion, privately held company that provides products, services and solutions to the educational marketplace.

SOURCE Follett Higher Education Group

Source: newswire

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