A major expense for any struggling college student, the textbook economy is more or less a scam. A professor provides a list of required texts, the campus bookstore sells them for exorbitant prices, and the publishers release a new edition each year insuring that any money returned by selling a book back is a mere fraction of what it originally cost. The average student spends thousands of dollars over the course of four years for books with a shelf life lasting only a semester. Textbooks on Google Play changes that.
Not only does the offering of digital textbooks cut back on the number of bulky texts that must be chucked into a backpack, but it breaks down the cost to something a little more manageable. Sure, some books are still expensive regardless, going for close to $200 to buy outright. But Google Play offers the option to rent a text for six months at a deep discount. Again, in some cases this is still fairly expensive (nearing $100 for certain math and science texts), but it’s about the equivalent of picking up a used tome and selling it back at the end of the school year — the typical life cycle of a textbook. That or collecting dust for years on a shelf, a totem to your debt and inability to find a job with that degree in contemporary sculpture.
The selection is actually quite wide, so there’s a good chance heading into the new school year that college students should be able to find digital versions of some or all of their books. Google recommends you read them on a shiny new Nexus 7 tablet, where you can annotate to your hearts desire, but that was obvious from get go.