An all-digital school bookstore?

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Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, MO, may become one of the first schools to offer digital-only textbooks to students. According to the National Association of College Store's "Campus Marketplace" newsletter, the school hopes to have its students reading e-books for all their coursework within a few years.

The interest, of course, is in saving money. Already the school's students have a lower-cost relationship with their textbooks. Since 1905, they have been renting them from the school rather than buying.

But recently the school decided to test the idea of moving away from printed textbooks altogether. Last fall, 200 NMSU students took part in a pilot program using Sony e-readers. About half the students had problems with the e-reader, according to "Campus Marketplace," particularly because they could not underline.

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This year they will be testing Sony's new e-reader, the PRS700, which includes capacity to highlight text. The school will also test books that can be downloaded directly to student computers.

School administrators interested in learning more about the NMSU experiment are encouraged to contact Paul Klute, assistant to the president of NMSU, at 660-562-1842 or pklute@n2wmissouri.edu.

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