[Athen] iPhone app for CourseSmart e-textbooks

Shelley Haven shelley at techpotential.net
Mon Aug 10 10:09:05 PDT 2009

Hi, all!

Of possible interest: CourseSmart's subscription e-textbook service
now has an iPhone app. While this may not be significant immediately,
it could if Apple releases their much-anticipated "media pad" product
later this year or in January, as it's expected to use the same
operating system as the iPhone and iPod Touch. So, how accessible are
CourseSmart's e-textbooks?

2 links below, copy of article follows.

- Shelley

Shelley Haven ATP, RET
Assistive Technology Consultant


e-texbooks from CourseSmart

CourseSmart, a subscription e-textbook service, released its App Store
software last week. The program, entitled "eTextbooks for the iPhone,"
offers 7,000 different textbooks for college students from 12
different publishers. It is free for subscribers, and the company
states that students save an average of 50 percent on books.

In an interview The Wall Street Journal Monday, CourseSmart Executive
Vice President Frank Lyman said the application is more of an asset
than a textbook replacement.

"Nobody is going to use their iPhone to do their homework, but this
does provide real mobile learning," he said. "If you're in a study
group and you have a question, you can immediately access your text."

The service, created in 2007, is a collaboration between six higher-
education publishers. The subscription model allows students to rent
textbooks, typically for 180 days. When the subscription expires,
students lose access to their e-texbooks.

Amazon has attempted to break into the digital textbook realm with its
larger e-book reader, the Kindle DX. The books available on the iPhone
are not on the Kindle. Earlier this year, Amazon released its iPhone-
optimized Kindle store, which allowed users to read books on the go.
Similarly, the Barnes & Noble eReader also debuted on the platform
this year.

As software makers vie for a share of the e-reader market, Sarah
Rotman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research, told the Journal that
the CourseSmart offering could be a breakthrough for e-textbooks.

"Textbooks are the missing link in the e-reader content base," she
said. "The problem so far is that college students haven't really been
interested in reading on their laptops. The iPhone will help create
excitement and generate awareness of e-textbooks."

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