UW-Madison and five other major universities announced plans this week to try buying electronic textbooks in bulk, an experiment that officials say could help rein in burdensome textbook costs and bring e-textbooks into the mainstream.
The university will try it on a small scale at first, in five courses involving about 600 students when the spring semester begins Monday.
At UW-Madison, students will spend an average of about $1,140 on books and supplies this year, up from $680 in 2001-2002.
"That's one of the big motivators behind doing this pilot and evaluating this more broadly, for wider adoption by the Madison campus," said Brian Rust, communications director for the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology. "We're hoping it will not only make texts more accessible in terms of being on a number of different devices, but also more accessible financially."