Reports have circulated in the news for some time that college textbooks cost too much. In fact, Weisbaum stated, “the average student in this country [USA] spends around $1,200 a year on books and supplies. A single book can cost as much as $200.”[i] In addition, one survey reported, “[S]even out of 10 college students will avoid purchasing a required textbook because of price.”[ii] Furthermore, Richard, Cleavenger, and Storey stated, “Students are increasingly questioning the need to purchase the required textbook for their courses and are actively seeking out alternative solutions.”
This presentation will describe a small private college library’s experiences implementing an innovative eTextbook pilot program with the goal of reducing students’ textbook costs. The project originally began with the researchers’ attempt to work with a mainstream library vendor. We believed students having access to their etextbooks through a library platform they were already familiar with would be more likely to succeed because the user experience was already familiar (i.e. interacting with existing library databases) and, therefore, they would have a more streamlined user experience. However, attempts to broker a deal with this vendor fell through due to the vendor’s 11th hour expectation that our institution utilize one publishing house. Despite the initial setback, the researchers managed to broker a deal to provide eTextbooks with an eTextbook rental company. The selected company was publisher agnostic, which meant that the etextbooks required by the faculty would be used in the pilot with no need for substitutions.
This pilot program took place during the spring 2018 semester – from January 2018 – April 2018 – with twelve course sections (a mixture of undergraduate and graduate courses). This presentation will share lessons learned with implementing this eTextbook pilot program, including methods of soliciting faculty and student feedback as well as how we received and shared student eTextbook interaction analytics. This interactive presentation will frequently solicit audience participation and provide ample time for Q&A.
ALA Unit/Subunit: ALCTS
Meeting Type: Program
Cost: Included with full conference registration.