Jobs Homes Autos For Sale

Oak Brook firm offers free trial with e-textbooks
By Anna Marie Kukec | Daily Herald Columnist
print story
email story
Published: 9/3/2010 12:02 AM

Send To:





Oak Brook-based Follett's Higher Education Group has extended their free download program so students can try a digital textbook for at least seven days before buying it.

The CaféScribe Try Now, Buy Later program offers about 10,000 titles. About 100,000 students nationwide are using Follett's digital textbooks. A free trial started last year and is being offered again this fall, said Follett spokeswoman Isabella Hinds.

"Today, students are increasingly interested in switching to digital textbooks because they are affordable, interactive, portable and environmentally friendly," said Hinds. "The Try it Now, Buy it Later program allows users to test drive digital textbooks for free and if they like it, they can buy it and all of the notes students have taken will remain intact."

The CaféScribe eBook platform from Fourteen40 Inc. was launched in 2004 by Bryce Johnson and a classmate in the Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA program. Follett Corp. acquired Fourteen40 in March 2008 to expand its range of digital learning products and merged it into the Follett Digital Resources business unit in 2009, said Hinds.

Schools using the digital textbooks include Chicago State University and Lake Forest College. Follett also manages 24 college bookstores in Illinois, including those at DeVry University in Addison, College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn and North Central College in Naperville, said Hinds.

Follett tested the CaféScribe Try Now, Buy Later program during the fall 2009 semester and found a lot of interest. To download, go to and pick out a title for the free trial. Then download it to your PC, Mac or Netbook. You will be able to read, search, highlight, bookmark and annotate on it. You also could share notes and discuss them online, said Hinds.

The CaféScribe e-textbooks offer discounts ranging from 24 percent to 45 percent off new book list prices. Discounts are set by each publisher, said Hinds. She would not comment further on download prices.

A random search for "Fundamental Accounting Principles" by John J. Wild, Ken W. Shaw and Barbara Chiappetta showed a digital download cost of $120.60, a 39 percent discount from the list price, on A digital download of this textbook at could be purchased for $128.40 or rented for 180 days for $100.38, and a used hardcover book was $78.95. So consumers need to carefully check around for the best price for the edition and format you want.

If you decide to take a free download from CafeScribe, and then don't want to the book after seven days, your permission for use will expire and the book will no longer "open," Hinds said.

Surfing: Barrington-based Norton's USA launched its online store at The general store features a variety of products all made in the USA.

•Naperville-based OfficeMax offers a new free app for iPhone and iPod Touch users to browse for office supplies, plus other features. See or

•InterPark Garages have installed charging stations for electric cars at 12 of their facilities in Chicago. The company will unveil their "green" tech initiative on Wednesday at Traders Garage, 329 S. Franklin, Chicago. Electric car owners will be able to charge their cars for free through the end of the year. After that, it will cost $5 to $7 for the charge-up, a spokeswoman said.

•Chicago-based Cookware firm CookTek has launched its new corporate website at

•Follow Anna Marie Kukec on Facebook and LinkedIn and as AMKukec on Twitter.