Yeah, we're all for education embracing current technology, but not like this. Princeton is going to be offering digital textbooks to students starting this fall semester, in partnership with Missouri-based MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc. Students pick up a barcoded textbook card and activate it at the cash register, and can then go online for a one-time download of a PDF version of the textbook. Here's where it goes wrong: the digital textbooks are only discounted 33 percent off their printed counterparts, and are slathered in a DRM scheme which prevents copying or burning to a CD, limits printing to small passages, locks the file to the computer you downloaded it to, and expires the book after 5 months. So let's see — your laptop gets fried? Gotta buy a new book. Going home for break and the book is on your dormroom desktop machine? Tough luck — no printing, neither, y'hear? No returns or buybacks, either. Wow, what a deal! Thank goodness we're living in the digital age.

UPDATE:

Dear Engadget Editor,

You are using a protected image (Princeton University's shield with
scroll) on your website without permission. Please remove this image from  http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000153053372/ ASAP.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Thomas Bartus
Office of Communications
Princeton University

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