E-Textbook Site Launches World's First Smelly E-Book

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E-Textbook web site CaféScribe (http://www.cafescribe.com) plans to offer e-books with scratch & sniff stickers that smell like old books starting in September. A Zogby/CaféScribe survey of 600 college students found that 43% identified smell as a quality they most liked about a physical text book. Students will be able to place the sticker on their laptops to enjoy the familiar musty book smell while reading e-books they bought for half the price of regular textbooks.

College students are most likely to characterize smell as the physical quality of books they most love according to the results of a Zogby poll commissioned by CaféScribe (http://cafescribe.com), a newly launched web site that sells electronic textbooks.

In a survey of 600 college students 43% identified smell -- either new book smell or old -- as the thing they most love about books as physical objects. A majority (62%) also preferred purchasing used textbooks over new or electronic textbooks, despite the fact that e-textbooks are generally a third less expensive than used textbooks.

In an attempt to win over skeptical college students, CaféScribe.com today announced plans to launch the world's first smelly e-book. CaféScribe.com CEO Bryce Johnson says that beginning in the back-to-school month of September the company will send every e-textbook purchaser a scratch & sniff sticker with a certifiably musty "old book" smell.

"Students who use CaféScribe download our software to read and annotate e-textbooks and other documents on their laptops," explains Johnson. "By placing these stickers on their computers they can give their e-books the same musty book smell they know and love from used textbooks -- without any of the residual DNA you sometimes find stuck to the pages of used textbooks."

3 in 10 of the surveyed students associated "mustiness" with the books they most loved, although 16% -- possibly those most likely to hit the books early in the day -- associated best-loved books with the smell of "freshly-ground coffee." Other smells mostly failed to bring books to mind, although respondents were more likely to associate pleasant smells (cut grass, freshly baked bread, cookies baking) with books than unpleasant ones (sweat, mildew, grease).

CaféScribe commissioned the survey to understand why consumers continue to prefer paper books to e-books. The poll carries a +/- 4.1 percentage point margin of error and was conducted by Zogby International using an online panel representative of the adult population of the U.S. A total of 591 college students completed the survey between August 15-21. For more detail on the methodology and results, please visit the CaféScribe.com media center.

About CaféScribe:
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, CaféScribe (http://www.cafescribe.com/) is part of Fourteen40, Inc., a technology company dedicated to helping college students get better, cheaper textbooks that let them learn more efficiently. CaféScribe 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 the e-book version of "Huckleberry Finn" to his kids.


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