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Bookstores

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed in late September, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, The California State University, and California Community Colleges systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

In a step toward improving college access and affordability, California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law two bills that will provide students with free access to digital textbooks.

Bills 1052 and 1053, passed last week, call for creating free, open source digital textbooks for 50 of the most widely taken introductory courses among the University of California, and California Community College systems, and creating a state digital open source library to house the texts.

You won’t find an college store named Rafter, Akadémos, or Neebo, but these companies have been reshaping the landscape of textbook buying, renting, and more.

What’s missing in this picture? Staff at the Brigham Young University Bookstore wheel out the textbook shelves after the term is underway to make room for a clothing boutique. The store now offers a wider array of merchandise that any other time in its 106-year history.

At the River Store in Ft. Pierce, Fla., it’s hard to miss the course textbooks stacked along multilevel, metal shelves, as well as the array of insignia T-shirts, sweatpants, hoodies, and caps bearing the Indian River State College logo and nickname, the Pioneers. These offerings have long been what generations of students, faculty, and alumni have come to expect at many of the almost 4,500 college stores across the country.

Textbooks are a big ticket purchase for college students, but that cost has declined slightly over the past five years. That’s not to say students are buying fewer books—or that textbook prices have gone down—but that they have found ways to bring the cost down, often with the help of campus bookstores.

If you want a comprehensive view of the world of higher education, look no further than your local bookstore. Every month sees a wave of releases by administrators, scholars, analysts, and more focusing on the current state—good and bad—of higher education. We’ve chosen to highlight here some of the more interesting titles that have arrived at our offices. You’ll probably notice a common thread of thought among them. All the books below advocate dramatic changes to the very nature of higher education, and in many cases, they don’t just suggest change, they demand it.

iPad

On January 19, Apple held a much-hyped education event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City where the company revealed its move into the textbook distribution market with the release of the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps.

Notable for its higher ed implications, iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create iBooks textbooks and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Education technology experts weigh in on how this could change how professors disseminate information.

The tornadoes that ripped across the South in April devastated everything in their paths. Some institutions had to close their doors before semester’s end.

It's common to find students filing papers in campus offices, restocking library shelves, or checking IDs at the fitness center to make a buck. What's a little less common is students replacing sidewalks and entranceways to dorms, building fountains, and constructing additions.

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