Chegg, which is in the midst of a dramatic change in their business model by moving from textbook rentals to digital student services, got slammed last week in the stock market. After reporting mixed results of better-than-expected earnings yet worse-than-expected revenues, their stock price lost 35% in one day (Feb 22). But this is not a story about Chegg or stock prices. What I find fascinating is an explanation that Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig provided about e-textbooks in his discussion with analysts.

Far too often people assume that digital equals low costs, even for textbooks. Then we get reports and surveys looking at digital textbooks as a method to “save money”, where it is almost assumed that digital textbooks do save money; it’s just a question of whether faculty take this fact into consideration. Or stock market analysts make the same assumption, which was the topic of Rosenweig’s discussion on Mad Money. In this conversation, as described at Seeking Alpha, Rosenweig made a very interesting observation.

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