University Shop now offering digital textbooks

Lauren Piro

As part of Villanova’s plan to increase campus technology, a new program will begin this semester, offering students yet another way to experience a digital classroom – starting as soon as they open their books.

This semester, the University Shop will begin selling e-books, a paperless way to provide many students with the texts they need for class.

The shop hopes this initiative will reflect ongoing efforts to provide students with fair choices when buying books. In the past, this has prompted a selection of new and used books as well as the 5% Wildcard discount.

One main draw of the e-books is the price discount; students will receive up to 40 percent off the price of a regular book.

While the e-books are not subject to buyback unlike other textbooks, this pricecut will often be much more than a student would receive for selling back a paper text at the end of the semester.

E-books also offer students a means to keep up with the digital age.

“Downloadable e-books offer students the convenience of bringing the text wherever they are bringing their laptops,” said University Shop director Frank Henninger.

The e-books are also interactive, allowing students to digitally search, highlight and take notes on the text.

There are, however, some conditions students should always consider before purchasing an e-book, University Shop officials said.

While many don’t expire, a few of the titles do expire after 12 months and restrict printing to 100 pages per week.

The e-books cannot be printed through the Villanova campus print network or downloaded onto a CD to be taken to the Print Center. Rather, they must be printed directly from one’s own computer and printer.

E-books are also encoded to prevent file sharing and can only be downloaded onto one computer. Backup copies may be made by students in case of computer failure, however.

Henninger asks that students consider all financial and logistical factors when deciding whether to purchase an e-book, especially since they are non-refundable purchases.

To purchase an e-book, students will be given reminder information cards in the textbook department of the University Shop.

“A student who chooses to purchase an e-book will simply take the card home, access the Web site listed on the card and make their purchase,” Henniger said.

After purchasing an e-book, the student will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to download the e-book.

This semester, the University Shop will offer about 60 books required for Villanova courses from the Universal Digital Textbooks Program, and about a dozen more from the iChapters division of Thomas Learning.

There will also be special hangtags next to the paper versions in the shop, denoting that they will be available as e-books.

Students can also find the selections online from links on the University Shop homepage.

So far, the University Shop has not encountered any problems from students with these digital textbooks.

In fact, students have found the download process preferable when considering the long line in the bookstore during book-buy periods each semester.

“Although it’s too soon to tell what impact offering digital content has made in our customer’s buying decisions, all the feedback we have had from students so far has been positive,” Henninger said. “The University Shop is planning to expand the digital content program in future semesters.”

For more information on the program or to purchase an e-book, students can visit the Univeristy Shop, or click on the Digital Content link on the University Shop’s Web site,