Textbook prices have just peaked, and this news shows that Cengage probably recognizes this fact and is adjusting its offerings accordingly.
For $99, Cengage is offering students access to all of its (digital) products for a semester along with the option to "rent" physical books for just a $7.99 shipping charge. 2 years of access costs $249.
This looks like a good deal if all your classes use Cengage materials exclusively. So a university could do its students a service and organize a degree pathway around this product. Textbook costs for a 4 year degree would be a total of $498.
Of course, I would prefer to see more z-degrees built around free textbooks, but we'll just have to give it time; as yet I am unaware of any 4-year z-degrees. Meanwhile, this move is evidence that the big textbook publishers' pricing power is beginning to slip away so I take it as welcome news.