In 2007, as undergraduates, we started a student government project to lower the cost of textbooks through price comparison. The goal was to help fellow students find their course materials at the lowest cost. To accomplish this, my classmates and I built a price comparison tool that collected a small affiliate fee from retailers each time a transaction was completed. In addition to saving students money on their course materials, we used the proceeds from those affiliate fees to help build a school in Zambia.
Last month, our own Mike Hale wrote about course-fee models as the way to ensure all college students had their required course materials on or before the first day of classes. As he mentioned, this model, powered by VitalSource Access®, has been implemented by more than 400 colleges and universities throughout the United States, saving students in excess of $100 million over the past 12 months.
One of those schools is Hinds (Miss.) Community College.
When you have a platform that delivers content to several million users each year, it is critically important that every user can get access when they need it. Whether it is VitalSource® Access powering their course content with day-one availability, supporting partners like Follett, Barnes & Noble and many others, or simply powering the publisher or storefront that directly sells to the learner, we work hard to ensure content is available where and when users need it (this is one of the reasons we deliver native applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, and Chromebooks that all allow you to download and use your content offline). The need for access at the same time as everyone else is especially true for users with a disability.