Eyes may be on Apple for its anticipated textbook-related announcement tomorrow, but others in the space aren't standing still: Chegg has unveiled a new HTML5-based reader for its digital textbook rental service that users can access through a regular browser. They're calling it the eTextbook Reader, and it allows customers to create highlights, take notes, access inline dictionary definitions, and connect with Chegg's online Homework Help service — and then pick up their sessions whenever they move to a new device. Unfortunately, due to publisher restrictions the expanded functionality will not be available for all titles (it wasn't clear if there was a way to determine what books would be limited without actually renting them).
The flexibility to access your textbook content without the hassle of proprietary platforms or plugins is a compelling benefit, but while Wi-Fi is heavily prevalent at universities and in classroom environments, it remains to be seen how the service will compete with similar options that don't require online access. The eTextbook Reader will work with any HTML5-compliant browser, though the UI has been optimized for a PC, Mac, or iPad — and it's available now for users of Chegg's rental service.