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Wednesday, November 6 • 6:20pm - 7:00pm
S2-17 E-Books and Textbook Affordability: Let’s Talk About It

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The high cost of college textbooks has been a much discussed issue in recent years, and with good reason. Expensive books are not just a financial burden on students. Studies have shown that prohibitive textbook pricing leads to lower grades, increased course withdrawals, and increased time to degree. One major response to this crisis has been the promotion of open educational resources (OER), and the efforts in this area have produced promising results. However, there are still drawbacks to OER, such as faculty reluctance to adopt material over concerns about quality.

A different, perhaps complementary, approach to the textbook pricing problem is to increase the use of library-owned electronic textbooks. E-books, of course, are now commonplace in academic library collections, and most libraries already own some e-textbooks. But what if librarians took a more active role in acquiring these resources? Could this help alleviate the textbook cost problem?

To answer these questions and others, we first needed to learn what books the professors were adopting for use in their courses. However, soliciting professors for this information proved to be difficult, so we initiated a more proactive approach. We started identifying potential e-book purchases by reviewing the required textbooks for social science courses. Although we were disappointed to find that only 18% were available in a suitable electronic format, we still believe e-books can play an important role in providing textbooks for students. Many academic libraries have come to realize there is no “one size fits all” solution to textbook affordability, and there may be advantages to addressing the problem through multiple approaches.

Our presentation provides narrative background and updates to our recent study on e-book availability. We will explore how e-books have been overlooked as a solution and what librarians can do to market this option to faculty.

avatar for Rachel Cooke

Rachel Cooke

Education and Arts Librarian, Florida Gulf Coast University
Rachel Cooke is the Art and Education Librarian at FGCU and serves on the ACRL PRIMO Committee and the FACRL Board. She is a Choice reviewer and has published numerous articles about academic libraries in College & Research Libraries, The Reference Librarian, Journal of Library... Read More →
avatar for Steve Rokusek

Steve Rokusek

Social Sciences Librarian, Florida Gulf Coast University

Wednesday November 6, 2019 6:20pm - 7:00pm EST
Carolina Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel