build your own texbook 11.16.2007, 4:21 PM
posted by ben vershbow
Peter Brantley pointed me to an interesting experiment from Pearson Custom Publishing, who is working with faculty at Rio Solado community college in Arizona to print custom textbooks assembled from multiple sources. Inside Higher Ed has details:
The result, in what could be the first institution-wide initiative of its kind, will be a savings to students of up to 50 percent, the college estimates, as well as a savings of time to faculty, who often find themselves revising course materials to keep pace with continuously updated editions.
...Professors can pick from among the books in Pearson's library as well as outside sources in preparing their custom textbooks. For works not published by Pearson, there's a limit of 10 percent of the contents, but the company will then handle copyright clearance.
barbara fiser on November 16, 2007 6:44 PM:
Others are doing this, too. I'm not sure it will turn out to be any cheaper, or if it's basically a glossy course pack with marginal resale value.
Many faculty use e-reserves to accomplish the same goal; there will no doubt be some copyright show downs to come (because the AAP and library associations do not see eye to eye on fair use), but many libraries have been shouldering the permissions and that takes much of the heat off the students. This only works, of course, when you're really wanting students to read a variety of texts of the kind found in a library, not a textbook that covers a topic thoroughly.