Digital Textbooks Will Save Money in a Flash


In fall 2018, Kent State University will launch a program that provides students with digital versions of textbooks and class materials electronically delivered on the first day of classes. The Kent State Board of Trustees approved the Flash Books program at its March 7 meeting. Kent State and Barnes & Noble, which operates the university bookstore, are partners.

Flash Books, also known as the Inclusive Access Model for Textbook Purchases, will save students money and shopping time, and ensure that students have the correct textbook editions and course materials for their classes.

“Flash Books will save students between 30-70 percent per course,” says Mandy Munro-Stasiuk, associate provost of academic affairs.

Once students register for classes, they will receive a fee for their digital textbooks on their bills, Munro-Stasiuk says. The fees will vary from course to course.

Flash Books is an opt-out program, which means that students will have until the end of the first week of classes to choose not to receive the digital versions of the textbooks that are available for their classes. A week is the standard time that students return books that they have purchased, Munro-Stasiuk says.

A major advantage of the program is that Flash Books will give students the opportunity to have access to their textbooks and materials on the first day of classes.

“Students will have their materials on day one of classes whether they pay their bills or not. This is where the term ‘Inclusive Access’ comes from,” Munro-Stasiuk said. “We find that many students do not have materials until three or four weeks after classes start, and it is hard for them to catch up then.”  

During the 2018-19 academic year, Flash Books will be in a pilot phase to ensure that all mechanisms are in place, Munro-Stasiuk says. The following academic year, additional textbooks and materials will be included in the program.

However, not all textbooks and classroom materials will be included in the Flash Books program. Instructors will decide which books will be part of the program. Most likely, textbooks for Kent State’s core courses will work best for Flash Books, says Munro-Stasiuk.

The textbooks that are included in the Flash Books program will provide a substantial and welcome cost savings for students. The average cost of textbooks and supplies for Kent State students is $1,200 per year.

“The goal is to bring that number down significantly,” Munro-Stasiuk says. “We are trying to cut that number in half, if possible.”

POSTED: Thursday, March 8, 2018 - 12:50pm
UPDATED: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 4:14pm
April McClellan-Copeland