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Hitting the books without breaking the bank

CINCINNATI (Sydney Benter) -- A trip to the bookstore can often set college students back more than $1,000.

That's changing with the option of e-books.  With textbook prices up more than 80 percent in the last decade, $23 is a steal.  Especially when you consider the regular chemistry textbook costs well over $200.
    
That's why UC has decided to pilot a program fall of 2014 where 1,800 general chemistry students will swap physical textbooks for digital versions.
    
Estel Sprague has seen the evolution of textbooks firsthand after more than 40 years as a chemistry professor at UC.

"They've become bigger, more colorful, a lot more expensive, and that's one of the reasons for what we're trying this year," said Sprague.
    
The cost for the electronic course material is included with tuition.  It's welcome news to freshmen overwhelmed by the textbook-buying experience.

Logan Porter, a freshman, said, "Ordering books for college is a little different than ordering for high school.  And I was a little worried. I didn't know exactly how to do it and that took a book away from me having to worry about how to get it. So it was a lot easier for me."
    
Biomedical studies student Logan said he prefers e-books to physical texts.  But Professor Sprague said that's not necessarily the popular choice.  He asked his students last year if they'd rather have tablet-friendly textbooks.

"Most of them said they wouldn't. They really would rather have a paper copy of the text," Sprague said.
    
Local 12 met plenty of students at Dubois Bookstore on Calhoun who still prefer learning the old fashioned way.

Ashley Keith, a freshman, said, "I think the tangibility of it. You get to touch it, read it, make your little notes and anything that I can avoid with the technology just in case it crashes."
    
Keith spent almost $1,000 on one semester's worth of text books.  It's that sticker shock that has UC professors taking notes of their own.

Prof. Sprague said, "For me, whether it's an e-book or not isn't that important.  It's just that having it as an e-book makes it significantly less expensive."

The general manager of Dubois said e-books only make up about three percent of the store's sales.  He said renting textbooks was most popular.



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