Georgetown University began to offer students the option of buying e-textbooks for the fall semester through a Follett-affiliated company, CafÃ©Scribe.
Beyond purchasing texts that can be read on a computer, students can also access CafÃ©Scribe’s interactive features. Through the application, students search texts, highlight excerpts, take notes and look up reference materials. Students can also share notes with their peers and direct questions about the texts to their professors.
“CafÃ©Scribe is the only e-book platform that was designed specifically for students in college and higher education. It is really based on student specifications and [students’] needs,” said Isabella Hines, director of digital content at Follett Higher Education Group.
“We are very excited about our new program, CafÃ©Scribe – while these are not the first electronic books we have offered, this new program will `blow the others away,'” James Kuhlman, manager of the Main Campus Bookstore, said in an e-mail.
Hines said that CafÃ©Scribe hopes to offer a less expensive alternative to actual printed textbook. The company aims to price texts at 40 percent to 60 percent of what a new textbook would cost.
“Students want two things. [They] want more money and [they] want more time. You want your textbooks to cost less and you to spend less time studying,” Hines said.
In January, CafÃ©Scribe will expand to be a “Blackboard building-block,” according to Hines. Students will have the option to access their e-textbooks through the university’s Blackboard Web site. They will be able to take notes on their reading without leaving the site.
“As you go along, you will be able to link to the relevant part of your textbook from the discussion topic,” Hines said.
CafÃ©Scribe is currently offered only through Follett Corporation-owned bookstores. University of Georgia, University of Nebraska, Purdue University, University of Texas at San Antonio and Baylor University have recently made e-textbooks available through CafÃ©Scribe.
“The response has been very positive,” Hines said. “It takes students some time to get used to how to use all the features. But once they get in the swing of it they find that their studying is easier.”
Ana Cenaj (SFS ’12) cited spatial constraints in dorms as a reason for the application’s merits.
“I think it’s rather convenient because of the lack of storage. I can definitely see myself using the program,” Cenaj said. “I’ve been using Amazon Kindle for over a year and I think e-textbook is the next step in academic convenience.”