Ingram buys CourseSmart, consolidating e-book textbook companies

Ingram's VitalSource Technologies has acquired CourseSmart, consolidating two of the largest companies providing textbooks as e-books, Publishers Weekly reports.

VitalSource's Bookself platform has more than 4 million users on 6,000 campuses worldwide and offers content from 500 of the world's top academic publishers. Ingram estimates it will take 12 to 18 months to fully transition CourseSmart customers to its Bookshelf platform.

CourseSmart offers access to e-textbooks of more than 90% of core higher education titles at up to 60% off the cost of print. It also provides access to additional digital resources and course materials, and has incorporated online textbook evaluation services for faculty.

CourseSmart was founded in 2007 by publishers Macmillan, Cengage, John Wiley, Pearson and McGraw-Hill Education. As recently as January, it has been announcing new partnerships, such as one with Naseej, a leading knowledge services provider in the Arab world.

Google and Apple are also in the e-textbook business. Most publishers work with multiple e-textbook vendors, many of which offer digital textbooks for rent as well as purchase. "Students should shop around," wrote GigaOm's Laura Hazard Owen, reporting on Google's roll-out in 2013.

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