textbooks Archives

College Needs an Intelligent Textbook

I just found out about the so called “intelligent textbook”. It is in fact a software system called Inquire, writes Michael Reilly in the New Scientist article The Intelligent Textbook that Helps Students Learn.

“The aim of Inquire is to provide students with the world’s first intelligent textbook, says its creator David Gunning of Seattle-based Vulcan. At first glance, the system just looks like an electronic version of Campbell Biology, the tome that forms the bedrock of biology classes for first-year university and advanced high school students in the US. But behind the scenes is a machine-readable concept map of the 5000 or so ideas covered in the book, along with information on how they are all related.”

The system is able to answer questions about concepts not well understood. If you highlight some text then the system asks questions about the highlighted text. There were experiments done that showed that students who used the full Inquire system scored better on quizzes than their peers who used the paper textbook.

“While such results are promising, perhaps it’s a little soon to crown Inquire the future of textbooks. For starters, after two years of work the system is still only half-finished. The team plans to encode the rest of the 1400-page Campbell Biology by the end of 2013, but they expect a team of 18 biologists will be needed to do so. This raises concerns about whether the project could be expanded to cover other areas of science, let alone other subjects.”

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I thought I would really like to learn using such an intelligent textbook. Certainly, college needs good textbooks for the students to learn.

After all, what do I expect from a good textbook, whether it is written on paper or not?

A good textbook should be clearly written, without mistakes (unfortunately this almost never happens). It should have both a table of contents and an index, such that one could easily find the concepts they are looking for. There should be self-test exercises and interesting assignments that help you understand the new concepts and the methods. Some of the assignments should be easy, but some should be difficult and challenging. Chapters summaries are useful to have too. Also, it helps to have the same concepts explained more than once, using different words and examples.

If you want to master a certain subject it is good to read several books on that particular subject. Even if you have one good textbook, it is always useful to read the same “story” told by different authors.

Moreover, as the musician Stan Getz used to say:

You can read all the textbooks and listen to all the records, but you have to play with musicians that are better than you.

One should discuss the subject with people that are more knowledgeable in order to learn more and better.

College Books and E-textbooks

There are several on-line bookshops that specialize in college needs: buy and sell textbooks, buy or rent e-textbooks. You can find many of them here so that you can compare prices. Let’s discuss them one by one, because each has some distinctive feature. You can get to their sites by clicking on the banners.

CampusBooks has a tool that allows you to compare prices on several online textbooks stores. You should check this first.

CourseSmart is the world’s largest provider of digital course materials. Their catalog includes over 90% of the core textbooks in use today as eTextbooks, as well as the largest online catalog of eResources and digital course materials available for instant access. Students can enjoy the benefits of anytime, anywhere access to important course materials at the click of a mouse from any web browser and on many popular devices (including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). CourseSmart eTextbooks are available in online and downloadable format at up to 60% off the price of print textbooks.

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TextbookStop is the fastest growing textbook rental service in the nation. Students can literally save hundreds of dollars per semester by electing to rent their textbooks instead of buying; every year more and more students take advantage of this money-saving option. We provide a unique option in the online textbook rental market; the ability to return books through the mail or at one of our 250+ nationwide “drop stop” locations.

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BunchesofBooks is an online bookseller, specializing in used college textbooks, but that’s not all we have to offer: Customers will find K-12 textbooks as well as a large selection of trade books, children’s books, self-help books, and more at incredibly low prices. By purchasing their textbooks through BunchesofBooks, students can save 50-75% off their textbooks.In addition to book sales, they also purchase textbooks through their sister site, WeBuyTextbooks.

More Cash for Your Textbooks

Bunches of Books

CengageBrain offers printed textbooks for purchase and rental, eBooks, individual eChapters, and study tools, including online homework solutions such as CengageNow, OWL, Aplia, Personal Trainer etc. CengageBrain also offers audio study tools as well as select video study tool products. CengageBrain currently supports sales to US, EMEA (Europe, Africa, and the Middle East) and Latin America customers only.

Save up to $100 on textbook rentals

CampusBookRentals rents textbooks to college students across the nation saving them hundreds of dollars every semester.

Textbook Rentals

BookRenter is the original online textbook rental service. They offer one-stop shopping with the largest selection of high quality college textbooks at unbeatable prices. Students save up to 80% and never pay for shipping by renting their college textbooks through BookRenter.
All of their books are hand-inspected ensuring only the highest quality with each and every rental. Standard shipping is FREE (both ways), and all orders can be shipped with next-day or 2 day shipping.

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eCampus has a massive inventory and industry-best pricing. Since 1999, eCampus has been the easiest, fastest and cheapest way for college students to buy their textbooks online. It is also one of the Internet’s oldest, most respected destinations for savvy internet shoppers from all demographics seeking the best deals on trade books, DVDs and college apparel.

Textbooks - Rent'em or Buy'em

Kno is a digital textbook reader that is changing the way knowledge is transmitted and the way students learn. With over 100,000 eTextbooks available for purchase or rent at 30-50% off the list price, Kno has the largest eTextbook catalog in the world. Kno provides college students with an unparalleled advantage to get the most out of their iPads and laptops.

Bookbyte is a family-style book store where one can buy or sell any book; school books, text books, reference books, popular books… Whether you’re selling a used college textbook or need to buy a new or used college textbook at a great price, Bookbyte is your source. At Bookbyte most orders are shipped within 24 hours. With accurate descriptions and search by ISBN number, you are assured of getting exactly the book you need or want FAST! Bookbyte has an extensive selection of new and used textbooks for every course of study. They also sell the popular favorites from today’s authors, as well as the classics … all at discounted prices! New or used, Bookbyte has the best book prices anywhere!

I tried to sell books myself and for some of them I got better prices from Bookbyte than from amazon.com. However, from Amazon you get an Amazon gift card, while from Bookbyte you get a check, which means cash.

College text books at great discounts of 25- 45%

Enjoy shopping around for your college needs!


So many books to choose from … and moreover you have e-textbooks. It is more convenient and cheaper. And you save some trees. Buy e-textbooks for your college needs from Kno!

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There are other online places to look for and try e-textbooks. Find them
here. It loooks like Kno has the largest collection of e-textbooks.

You can use an e-textbook like you use a book. You can highlight important things, you can print certain pages, and, moreover you can take it with you everywhere you take your laptop. Kno allows you to try e-textbooks for free for a certain period of time.