August 04, 2007 |
CafeScribe is a new service, from Salt Lake City-based Fourteen40, which is aiming to cut down on the amount of books college students must buy, as well as the amount of money that is spent on those books. The site says it offers books at half their retail price, and one-third the cost of used books.
How can they do this? Easy. The service focuses on providing users with a place to buy and download electronic textbooks from the net, which is not a new creation. There has just never really been a central place like CafeScribe where students could go to find books in this form and communicate.
The site has implemented some social features in order to keep students returning. Users have the ability to add friends, publish and share notes, and start or join a group (a great way to find study buddies).
CafeScribe provides color-coded virtual highlighters which helps make the note-taking process easier, but it is still not as easy as the traditional “paper” method. Students also are able to organize their digital books into categories based on subject matter, which is useful if you have more than one book per class.
If you think about it, eBooks not only save money, but another resource as well, as the site has noticed. After conducting a study, Fourteen40 found that most college textbooks have an average of 715 pages. This sparked the service's “green” initiative which publicizes that use of CafeScribe can help cut down on the amount of paper produced, and therefore the amount of trees cut down. Each student that completely abandons paper textbooks for the digital alternative could help save approximately one tree's worth of paper each year and about 6 trees over the span of their four years in college.
Similar to college book buyback programs, students can sell their books back to CafeScribe. Don't expect as much as you paid, of course, and don't expect to be able to sell them to other students.
For those wondering whether you can copy and paste the contents of your books to another program, the site states that, “publishers have the option of restricting the amount of content you can export. In general the limit is 30% of the entire book content. We enforce the limit by counting the number of characters that you include in each copy operation.” Also, the service allows printing of the books but “the print limit for most books is 30%.”
Overall, this looks like a promising service that could help many college students go a lot easier on their wallets this semester. All I am waiting for is a larger selection of books.
Currently, CafeScribe is still in beta. Expect an official launch sometime this fall.