An article in the Chronicle details digital textbook options for professors  who wish to create their own textbooks using material from different sources. The story highlights  AcademicPub, a build it yourself textbook service. The service compiles the materials and arranges for permissions. Students are given three options for buying the book: Download a digital edition for $14.95, get it in paperback for $27, or go for the hardcover for $45. A demand for lower priced textbooks is driving the move toward customization. Creating a textbook with only what a professor plans to use, or skipping textbook publishers altogether, can greatly reduce materials’ costs for students.

AcademicPub launched in April 2011, and it now has a library of two million pieces of content from 75 publishers, including Cambridge University Press, Prince­ton University Press, and Harvard and MIT’s business publishers.

Connexions began in 1999 as a place for academics all over the world to share educational materials online for free. It has been working to expand the use of customized textbooks as well.

A grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation allows community college professors in Washington State to build the Open Course Library which will feature online course materials for the state’s 81 most-enrolled classes, with a price cap of $30 per course.

And the Big Five textbook publishers have been increasing their customization offerings.

We may be seeing more customized textbooks especially among mainstream publishers, to meet the growing demand for lower priced alternatives to one-size-fits-all textbooks.

Read the article in The Chronicle:

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