"I am quite sure that these books available on the web will become increasingly accepted and will eventually be the way textbooks will be delivered to students. The books won't always be free, but they will be available at a much lower cost."
According to the Association of American Publishers, textbook publishers' net sales revenue in 2010 was $4.55 billion, a sum that includes traditional textbooks and other platforms like ebooks. New editions of textbooks are often released every three to four years, Hildebrand said.
Even as more textbooks become available in a digital format, Hildebrand said many students prefer spending more money to have a physical copy. That's good news for Kevin Martin, who is the chief operating officer of Campus Book Rentals in Ogden.
"We serve students on about 6,000 campuses every single semester. We're shipping books to about 6,000 different campuses across the country," Martin said of the textbooks rental company, which boasts 4 million titles.
"We were in a 4,500-square-foot warehouse three years ago," Martin said. "So, now we're 120 employees strong, (in a) 57,000-square-foot warehouse, and still growing like crazy."
Depending on the title, cost savings are anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent of retail value, Martin said.
He said the company knows digital books will play a role in the future and his company is working on strategies to capitalize on the market.
Contributing: Keith McCord
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