TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Princeton University Goes Digital - The Wrong Way

Re: Princeton University Goes Digital - The Wrong Way

Tony P. (
Sun, 7 Aug 2005 21:04:52 -0400

In article <>,


> We admire Princeton not only for its beautiful campus and its myriad
> of creative minds, but also for its courage to embrace new
> technologies. Starting in the fall semester, the school will offer
> digital textbooks to its students in partnership with Missouri-based
> MBS Textbook Exchange Inc and various textbook publishers. The student
> only needs to pick up a barcoded textbook card (see attached
> screenshot), activate it at the cash register for usually 33 percent
> less than the new-book price, and go online for a one-time download of
> the textbook in PDF format.

> Alas, the e-books are encoded in DRM which pretty much spoils the
> potential success of this pilot project:

> * Textbook is locked to the computer where you downloaded it from;
> * Copying and burning to CD is prohibited;
> * Printing is limited to small passages;
> * Unless otherwise stated, textbook activation expires after
> 5 months (*gasp*);
> * Activated textbooks are not returnable;
> * Buyback is not possible.

> If this hasn't scared you off already, click here to read the rest in
> the press release.

Considering that:

1) College Textbooks aren't worth the paper they are printed on
because the information contained in them is often erroneous.

2) The choice of textbooks at any given college or university has
nothing to do with the quality of the book, instead it has to do with
the marketing of the book.

3) That there's very little difference between revision 5 and revision
9 of a book. But that doesn't stop them from publishing a new revision
pretty much every year.

4) The price gouging is horrendous.

I'm assuming that MBS is going to learn a horrible lesson in all this.
Students might actually be willing to pay an extra 33% to get a non-
crippled paper version of the book. There goes their profit scenario.

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