Digital media has come in many formats: CD, DVD, PDF and activation codes. The licensing arrangements were not initially standardised by the different publishers and this has caused confusion and difficulty for families and schools.
In 2013 and 2014 publishers reacted to marketplace feedback and have commenced standardising these licensing arrangements and this continues.
Accessing CD's, ebooks and activation codes that provide a Read Only or PDF version of the textbook is usually free. An additional fee of approximately $5 may be payable for the reactivation of the code.
Most publishers now provide a 'multi-licence' for the large textbooks (may require the school to request this from the book supplier). This means the text comes with 4 x 1 year activation codes in the front cover. Each licence provides full access to the digital media attached to the text including all interactive components. Textbooks with multi-licences are fully tradable secondhand and provide digital access for each of the four licences. Symbols denoting a multi-licence are increasingly appearing on booklists e.g. 4Yr eBk, 4eBk, eBk4.
For purchasers of secondhand texts, multi-licences provide the best value as they minimise the annual cost of textbooks.
Cambridge HOTmaths, eBookPLUS and online activities including study reviews and assessments are all examples of interactive digital media. The interactive digital media reactivation cost for a text purchased secondhand which has a single use licence, can be significant. In most cases the range is $5 to $25 and advice is usually available from the school if these are needed.
At present, digital books on their own without a hard copy text are normally one year licences and are not tradable secondhand. They are for single use only.
If the Pearson eBook 3.0 Combo Pack is included on your booklist you will need to confirm with your school if the ebook component is required and what the additional reactivation charge may be. The reactivation charge for this pack has varied in the past.
Most schools do not rely on digital media in delivering their curriculum. Schools that do, specify which digital media is essential on their booklists, while others provide choice between digital or a hard copy text.
In reality much of the digital media accompanying texts, are an add on by the publisher.
If in doubt contact your school first. Further information is available from the customer service department of the relevant publisher or our helpline on 1300 683 337.