ATU board approves e-textbooks

RUSSELLVILLE -- The Arkansas Tech University board of trustees on Thursday approved expansion of an inclusive access textbook program that lowers costs for students.

A handful of classes made e-textbooks available "at a much more reasonable rate" than traditional textbooks during this fall's pilot program, and it was highly successful, said Laury Fiorello, vice president of administration and finance. The e-textbooks are "much more economical for students." They can opt out in favor of physical textbooks, however, as it's not mandatory, she said, adding "this is a trend in the textbook market for students."

In the pilot, zero students opted out, as this is "very beneficial for everyone," said Jessica Holloway, director of Procurement, Travel Services, Risk Management & Post Office. The offering has been especially successful with math courses.

By expanding the program for the spring semester, 40-45 courses will be included, and savings for students "are significant," Holloway said. In one class this spring, students can save 50% on textbooks; in another course, one e-textbook costs $130, as opposed to $250 for the traditional textbook.

"Students loved it," said Julie Furst-Bowe, vice president for academic affairs.