From Inside Higher Ed, Elsevier offers a free version of a textbook to registered MOOCsters:
MOOCs present an opportunity to publishers due to their impressive scale — tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of students typically register for a course, even if a small fraction of those actually persist — and their focus on nontraditional students. The marketing principle behind putting “free samples” of a product in a high-traffic area is hardly new. But publishers have taken an especially keen interest in how the unwieldy Web, and its “culture of free,” might be harnessed to bolster traditional sales.
Some university press officials have even suggested that digital piracy, for all its hazards, might actually benefit sales by increasing exposure for certain titles.
Is this but one method for MOOCs to gain financial solvency? Regardless, creating partnerships points to variant brainpower behind MOOCs, and more hands in the cookie jar means this is less and less likely to be a passing fad.