What is TAP?
The purpose of the Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) is to promote awareness of and access to textbook affordability issues and provide solutions to make course materials available that are up-to-date, satisfy academic needs, and are affordable to students.
In 2010-11, students at four-year public colleges like the University of South Florida spent an average of $1,137 on textbooks, according to collegeboard.com. College textbook prices are at an all-time high and are being driven by an unchallenged market with an imbalance of power held by the textbook publishers. Five textbook publishers are responsible for 80% of the textbooks within the $8 billion publishing industry. When there is limited competition, the publishers can charge whatever they want at the expense of students and their families. In addition, publishers issue new editions every year or two, even with minor changes, thus eradicating the more affordable used textbook market.
A recent survey of USF professors has shown that while 78% are aware of high textbook costs, only 35% consider cost when selecting books for their courses.
TAP provides informative, effective and active solutions to the rising cost of textbooks, such as electronic textbooks, textbooks on reserve at the library, the USF bookstore’s textbook rental program, and course packs available through Blackboard.
TAP has 3 components:
- Website and blog – Tap.usf.edu and Facebook page.
- E-Books in the Classroom – making electronic books and textbooks available to students at no cost, with no time limitations. The USF Libraries will purchase electronic versions of books if they are available in that format, at the request of instructors.
- Atlas-Ares Course Packs – readings and other course materials to be delivered through Ares software and integrated in Blackboard, with full built-in copyright management.
Student Technology Fee Proposals and Textbook Affordability
TAP is funded by the Student Technology fee. Each semester, students pay a technology fee as part of their expenses. A portion of this money has been set aside to allow the USF Tampa Library to purchase e-textbooks that may be accessed by students at no cost. Content will be integrated with Blackboard and available 24/7 from any location, with no time limitations. This will provide a significant savings to students who are enrolled in classes assigned e-textbooks.