I suppose taking a degree in any university in the world is somewhat expensive, but it Africa, it is more expensive as most public universities lack enough learning materials in their libraries. Students are forced to buy textbooks, but considering how expensive each textbook goes, only a handful (if any) will be purchased. However, electronic books (e-textbook) present a cheaper alternative for most students; but then getting free e-textbook makes things all the more affordable.
Where to get Free E-Textbooks
While there are numerous sources online where a student can get free e-textbook, the Copenhagen-based site Bookboon has become quite popular with students from Africa. Reports show about five million students from Africa download e-textbooks from Bookboon per year.
E-textbooks are increasingly becoming popular across Africa as more and more people can afford a smartphone and/or a personal computer. A recent survey done in Kenya, shows 73% of fourth years students in institutions of higher learning prefer using e-textbooks as compared to the conventional textbooks.
The founder and COO of Bookboon, Thomas Buus Madsen says their site has brand new textbooks. He told DW, “They are written exclusively by professors committed to the ideal of supporting free education on a global scale.”
How are the E-Textbooks Free?
Madsen went further to say that Bookboon is not a charity, and they are in it to make a profit like any other business doing e-commerce on the internet. Ads finance the free e-textbooks. These sponsors of these ads are not your typical business targeting the general consumer with ordinary goods and services. The types of businesses that run ads on Bookboon are either learning institutions or career organizations looking to recruit university graduates.
“Advertisers who are in our books are companies who do it with the intention of attracting the right candidates to come and work for them,” said Madsen. “Universities also sponsor books. So all the adverts are career or education-related. But they are not product advertisements.”
Bookboon does not supply the standard textbooks your lecturer will use for your units. Instead, the site only offers free e-textbooks that were written specifically for their platform. It does not distribute books from other publishing houses. With that said, you might find not very many books on the site for your need, but if you are lucky to find one or a couple. That will go a long way toward reducing the cost of your degree.