Can We Make Textbook affordable and Student-friendly?

So far, we have developed the possible ways of make textbooks affordable in the hope of helping students save money and enhance the learning outcomes. We have mentioned the online textbooks and notes, e-textbooks, textbook rentals and the second hand textbook service. Here are some advices recommended by relevant make textbook affordable campaign study:

1. Considering the cost when selecting textbooks.

We have discussed that use online resources to get access to course required readings; or buy textbooks online while some websites offer cheaper textbooks; or ask for second hand service.

2. Communicate with professors and faculty before the semester stars.

To ask the course requirements before semester stars will help students access the basic information for the course to decide whether get a textbook or not.

3. Publication sponsorships

Since faculties are in charge of selecting textbooks, they may have regular publishers as book supplement. It is student-friendly to negotiate either the prices or a sponsorship.

4. Open textbooks statement

The problem of copyright and relevant issues can be resolved by singing open textbooks statement. As students agree on only using the e-textbooks for study in a certain time and no more publishing, they can get access authorities.

5. Systematic change in universities

To tell universities the affordable alternatives will remind them consider it as an issue to make more student welfare.

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For the Eco-friendly and Sustaining Development

Use online textbooks and second hand textbooks are not only saving money for students, but also appealing to the demand of environmentally-friendly sustain.

According to Eco Women blog research: “The publishing industry is one of the world’s largest polluting sectors — for example, in 2008, the U.S. book and newspaper industries combined resulted in 125 million trees being cut down, which does not even get into chemicals used during production or the two industries’ massive carbon footprint.”

See Eco Women’s blog:

Further, during book transportations, fossil fuels are used repeatedly. The transportations may last from publication factories to bookstores; or from sellers’ places to specific buyers’ places. This may cost more of natural environmental resources.

This does not mean that e-readers will not cost natural energy. However, the electronic devices cost high-tech energy which cost less damage than producing and marketing physical books.

Textbooks recycle system can help provide a platform for students to buy and sell second hand textbooks. Most of students would not use their university textbooks that much. Therefore, textbooks recycle system will help them deal the second hand textbooks to save money for both buyers and sellers. Further, it is also eco-friendly for the environment and society. When we recycle second hand textbooks, there are no more needs to produce new books. Thus save wood, forest and fossil fuels in some degree.

For professors – Make Open textbooks for students

Why use open textbooks?  

“The rise of open textbooks is a new dynamic with the potential not only to reduce costs for students, but also to create communities of education professionals who work together to maintain quality open resources,” said BCcampus executive director David Porter.

Offer YOU more control and customizability.


6 steps to adapting an open textbooks

Step 1: Check the license First, check the license to make sure you have the permission to modify the contents.

Step 2: The format of the textbook If you wish to adapt an open textbook, you need to be able to have the textbook in a technical format that you can work with. This usually means the original source files used to create the textbook. Common source formats for open textbooks that you should look for are: HTML files (webpages) Word or OpenOffice documents Text files ePub LaTex files (if the original book includes math or science formulas and equations). What tools you will use to create your version of the textbook will depend greatly on what format you find the original textbook in and what you feel comfortable working with.

Step 3: Tools for editing an open textbook Once you have a source format that you can edit, you can then begin to modify the textbook. What tools you will use to do this will depend greatly on what editable format you are working with, and your comfort level with working with that format. PressBooks One of the tools we are recommending for the open textbook project is PressBooks. PressBooks is a web-based authoring tool based on the popular WordPress authoring platform. Working in PressBooks is similar to working within a Learning Management Systems like Moodle or Desire2Learn. You can import a number of different formats into PressBooks for editing, including Word, ePub and HTML. PressBooks will output the textbook as a mobile-friendly website, an ePub document (for use in e-readers), and PDF (for printing). Other editing tools The chart below shows you some of the tool options you have for working with the various file formats. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. You may have a tool that works for you that you wish to use to create your open textbook.

Step 4: Choosing a license Once you have finished creating your own version of the textbook, you should decide on which Creative Commons license you will use to license your book. This will depend a great deal on how the original textbook was licensed.

Step 5: Output Students like flexibility when it comes to their textbooks. Some may prefer printed versions of the textbook, others will prefer using a website. Still others will like to use an e-reader or e-reading software. To make your book as accessible as possible, consider making your textbook available in multiple formats so students have the ability to choose the format that works for them. At a minimum, the open textbook project will make textbooks available as a website (HTML),  ePub document for e-readers, and PDF document which students can print or choose to have printed via a print on demand service.

Step 6: Hosting your book (or how do my students get my textbook?) Once you have edited your version of the textbook, you will need a place to put your textbook where your students can access it.

Read more information:

How many ways can we make the textbooks affordable?

As we discussed so far, providing online textbooks, the university library renting service and textbooks recycling are all student-friendly and eco-friendly for the social community. Today let’s conclude how many ways we can make the textbooks affordable and how to complete the campaign strategy — to save money for students and enhance the learning outcomes.

  1. Providing online textbooks and notes. This way is actually undertaking by many universities in Australia. For example, if a course only uses one chapter from a book as learning requirement, the professor will upload the chapter online for students to read instead of buying the book.
  2. E-textbooks authority. This one is hard to be totally completed due to the copyright issues. Although, universities can still have a try to negotiation with authors, textbooks supply business and social media.
  3. Textbooks rental service. Most universities in America have their rental textbooks system in terms of providing affordable textbooks for students from university libraries. In Australia, we can provide a certain number of textbooks for renting according to the register of courses. Students pay deposit for each book and they can have the books for a semester from university libraries. At the end of the semester, when they return the books with a good condition they can get their deposit back.
  4. Textbooks recycle system. This system can provide a platform for students to buy and sell second hand textbooks. Most of students would not use their uni textbooks much. Therefore, textbooks recycle system will help them deal the second hand textbooks to save money for both buyers and sellers. Further, it is also eco-friendly for the environment and society.

Textbooks and University Library Services

Most universities in America have their rental textbooks system in terms of providing affordable textbooks for students from university libraries. When you log in the library system, for example, the MSU (Michigan State University) library provides options to rent a MSU textbooks or textbooks from other university or bookstores. Students can either book a textbook rental appointment or borrow books from the library at the beginning of a semester.

rental_textbooksAmazon is considering building up a book rental library service. It will be engaged for Amazon if they set up the service. Both universities and their libraries are going to be promoted as well in this case. According to the Wall Street Journal, “is in talks to start a library service that will see folks pay a monthly subscription in exchange for access to book rentals.” Relevant reports indicate that book publishers will be offered a substantial fee to take part in the program, which has yet to be confirmed by e-tail giant Amazon.,news-12496.html

In order to contribute the e-textbooks system and the textbook rental service, university libraries in Australia can offer a fact list to help students save money when purchasing textbooks. The list contains textbooks options, course recommendations, professor requirements and other relevant options recommended by colleges. Thus, students are encouraged to research their study up-to-date and check with their professors about lessons in regular. It is a good experience to enhance the learning outcomes for university students.

Controversial issues of Online Textbooks

Online textbooks are convenient, accessible and user-friendly. They provide a better learning experience with combining visual information such as graphics, images, audios and animations. It is represented by the best future of embedded videos and hyperlinks to supplemental studies. This kind of education is more interactive and sustaining for young generations.

However, many argue the risk and challenge online textbooks would take.

-Cost: It is believed that due to the copyright issue, there is no way to publishing all kinds of textbooks online for free. Thus, students may buy books from the internet such as ebay or iBooks from the apple store.

-Convenience: The internet based database and information network is easy to access when there is a wifi or internet connection. Further, electronic devices need to charge in regular which requires the electric supply.

-Usage: According to researches, long-term usage with electronic devices is bad for children in terms of eyes damaging and physical growth. For teens and young adults, the technical devices addiction is also a “social symptom”.digital_textbooks

Jon Fortenbury argues the potential challenge in his blog whether digital textbooks are a solution or a distraction for students.

Advantages and Benefits of Online Textbooks

As we discussed so far, providing online textbooks for university students is a direct way to release the inability to purchase expensive textbooks. In other word, social innovations aim to resolve problems from the society and community. In order to save money and enhance the learning outcomes of university students, online textbooks system is engaged with the context.

Here are five major benefits of online textbooks we have discussed and studied by bloggers and researchers.

1. First of all, by using an online textbook saves a lot of money, which is a major strategy of our campaign as well. The traditional printed textbooks usually cost more than $100 in bookstore. In that case, a university student would probably cost more than $400 for each semester.

2. Online reading activities and e-readers are widely adapted by the young generation. Whether using a smart phone or a laptop, students will become more familiar with the high-tech based devices. In that case, online reading activities will continue to be a growing presence in students’ lives.

3. The internet based database and information network spreads quickly every day. It allows students keep in touch with the fresh study works and up-to-date information. Especially when a university sets up its own textbooks and study system, students can access to the most recent study, research and other advanced information instantly.

4. The traditional books can be damaged accidentally. Comparing with traditional physical books, online textbooks are easy to access, convenient and user-friendly.

5. Finally, e-textbooks are environmentally-friendly and cost-effective. Papers would cost large amount use of wood and forest. The promotion of online textbooks is eco-friendly as well.