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Essay calls for a new approach to college textbooks | InsideHigherEd


Essay calls for a new approach to college textbooks | InsideHigherEd.

The Book Industry Study Group just reported that 52 percent of college students surveyed agreed that “I would rather pay $100 for a learning solution that improves my result by one letter grade and reduces my study time by 25 percent than $50 for my current textbook.”

It figures that the only comment made about this absurd and leading survey question comes from another librarian (Barbara Fister, of course).

While not mentioned at all in the article itself, there were a number of references libraries’ roles in the textbook problem, some direct and others indirect.  Librarians often do provide a certain amount of direct assistance by putting key textbooks on reserve.  Combined with the cost and resistance from the bookstore administration (and possibly campus admin), this is not really a solution to making textbooks affordable to all students.

Indirect support includes greater integration of library resources into the curriculum.  This, however, is not easy to do.  The publishers have cued in on the faculty’s lack of time by providing packages as “learning solutions” (ugh).  This is an opportunity for the combined efforts of collection development and instructional/reference librarians to simultaneously increase the use of our resources and decrease the cost of learning materials for students.  Of course, there will be resistance – from faculty, from publishers, from bookstore managers, and from lawyers.  Are we ready to take them on?

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One comment on “Essay calls for a new approach to college textbooks | InsideHigherEd

  1. Kevin Hawkins
    August 23, 2015

    There may be some knee-jerk resistance from a campus bookstore, but in reality the bookstores make very little from selling textbooks: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3168 . As for libraries putting print books on reserves, while some institutions find these are heavily used, doing so sets unrealistic expectations for students: http://crln.acrl.org/content/76/6/332.full

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This entry was posted on August 22, 2015 by in Academic Libraries, Collections, Publishing.

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