The Direct Network

Low Cost Digital Content Without Sacrificing Quality

Posted by Joe Clarkin on Jun 22, 2017 5:30:00 AM
Topics: digital content, textbook affordability

Quality and affordable course materials aren’t mutually exclusive. Without the production costs of a traditional textbook, digital course materials are available at lower prices and can be customized for individual classes. Through MBS Direct's digital options, educators can meet the needs of their classroom and enhance student learning and engagement.

Low Cost Digital ContentBarnes & Noble Education (BNED) Courseware

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Starting with openly licensed content such as OpenStax™, BNED uses the LoudCloud platform to provide embedded videos, assessments and other supplementary material to make learning more engaging. Students have the option to purchase the print title for an additional $15.

Flat World Knowledge


Flat World Knowledge’s catalog of materials includes subjects like business, marketing, humanities and sciences. Faculty have the option of customizing titles by adding, removing and rearranging the content within. Additional features for students include study tools like flashcards and quizzes. An All Access Pass costs about $52.



zyBooks has a STEM-focused catalog, wherein the materials heavily rely on question sets, animations, interactive tools, so students can put the information they learn into practice. The average cost is about $50.

Soomo Learning


Webtexts from Soomo Learning provide an engaging reading experience for students. With review questions and bite-sized videos directly embedded in the material, students have a better understanding of the content. Most of Soomo Learning’s titles are $62, and they provide deep LMS integration as well.



Started at Rice University, OpenStax receives funding from some of the biggest donors in the education space. With that funding, they create high-quality 100-level college textbooks. These titles are available for free from their website or for $5 through third parties such as VitalSource™, so students have learning functionality such as sharing notes and speech to text.



The materials from Junction Education come equipped with rich media curated by subject matter experts, assignments and an insight center for faculty and students. Junction courses can be used as they are or can be customized to fit their learning objectives. For $45, the material is customizable, and faculty can select from other OER material in the Junction repository or add in their own content.

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A global leader in education, HMH has partnered with MBS Direct to provide a full K-12 curriculum of digital products. These include, among other subjects, the Larson mathematics series and the Science Fusion series. Some popular titles are available in ebook for $15.

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Lorenz is comprised of five separate educational companies, each with a unique focus and goal. Their materials—which are primarily intended to be supplemental—cover subjects like language arts, social studies, science, mathematics and more. The average cost is $10 - $20.

eText Builder


MBS Direct provides a way for faculty to search through a repository of pre-cleared commercial content to find exactly the material they want for their course. Faculty can also add in their own content and open content they find elsewhere. The average cost is $35 -$40.

About Joe Clarkin

Joe Clarkin is a former copywriter at MBS. When he’s not working or studying, you’re most likely to find him reading a book or watching a game.

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