College Students Could Save a Tree Per Year Using E-Textbooks

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College students purchase about a tree per year in textbooks according to the founder of CaféScribe.com, a site that sells e-Textbooks at half the cost of standard textbooks. According to the CaféScribe study, a student starting school this fall using digital textbooks rather than their more expensive counterparts would save nearly 50,000 sheets of paper -- enough to preserve six, 40-foot trees -- over the course of 4-years at a university.

E-books graphic

E-books make sense on so many levels - they're cheaper, more flexible, and better for the environment. They're a lot easier to carry in your backpack as well. Web 2.0 means that the era of digital content is with us to stay: CaféScribe is proud to introduce Textbooks 2.0.

An analysis published today by CaféScribe, a web site that offers digital versions of popular textbooks at half the price of regular textbooks, asserts that the average college student buys over a tree's worth of textbooks during the course of a school year. As universities prepare to begin the 2007-2008 school year in the midst of widely publicized criticism of the high cost of textbooks, the CaféScribe analysis suggests that buying e-books would not only save students an average of close to $2,000 over four years, it would conserve six trees.

The e-Textbook company's figures assume that the average student buys between 17 and 18 books per year at an average cost of $52 and an average length of 715 pages. Ecological advocacy groups have estimated that a single tree is equal to between 16 and 17 reams of paper, or about 8,300 pages. In addition, e-book versions of popular textbooks average half the cost of new textbooks and a third less than used textbooks.

"Looking back at my school career, I'm horrified at how many dead trees I was responsible for," laughs Bryce Johnson, CEO of Fourteen40, the parent company of CaféScribe and himself a veteran of undergraduate and MBA degrees (about 9 trees-worth of schooling). "E-books make sense on so many levels - they're cheaper, more flexible, and better for the environment. They're a lot easier to carry in your backpack as well. Web 2.0 means that the era of digital content is with us to stay: CaféScribe is proud to introduce Textbooks 2.0."

CaféScribe.com, which is still in in the beta stage of launch, plans to offer a broad selection of e-textbooks by fall along with a social network of online study groups to make reading books and sharing notes faster and more efficient for students. CaféScribe also allows individuals to publish, share, and annotate their own PDF documents.

For more interesting numbers, see the full text of the study at the CaféScribe press center.

About CaféScribe
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, CaféScribe is part of Fourteen40, Inc., a technology company dedicated to helping people share knowledge more efficiently. The company recently received its second round of venture funding from SBI Ventures. Its CEO, Bryce Johnson, was himself a student not long ago. In the evenings he likes to read e-books to his kids.

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Stephen Fraser
CaféScribe
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