Ithaka S+R’s program director for Sustainability and Scholarly Communications the effervescent Nancy Maron has written the latest issue brief “Opening the Textbooks: New Opportunities for Libraries and Publishers.” It’s true, a quiet revolution is taking place as students opt out of paying for high-priced textbooks. I remember when my daughter was in College and I gave her money for textbooks. She said they were too expensive and started buying used textbooks wherever she could find them (and using the money I had given her for more important endeavors no doubt). That was in 2003. Back then there were no textbook rentals or short-term loans that I remember. What are the recent trends in textbook publishing? Is collaboration between university presses and libraries possible to bring about new models for the textbook market?
ATG has been watching the textbook market for a while. Remember when Sara Killingworth and Martin Marlow (Maverick Outsource Services) wrote about “The Future of the Textbook” (ATG, v.22#6, March 2011). The thorough article (with comments no less!) focuses largely on etextbooks. And there are even more articles on textbooks in ATG!
Speaking of which Ingram Content Group Inc., has announced it has expanded its physical textbook selection and services with the addition of new supply models, a comprehensive assortment of used textbooks and textbook buyback programs. The consolidation begins?
And you heard it here — Charles Lyons (SUNY Buffalo) is guest editing an issue of ATG in November on the theme of library roles with textbook affordability. He has been in conversations with many of us (especially Chuck Hamaker who is always on the cutting edge) about textbook initiatives by libraries. Can’t wait for the papers! Charles is looking for libraries which are experimenting with textbook models. Speaking of which, you know what? Charles’ brother-in-law Simon is the Executive Chef at the Francis Marion Swamp Fox restaurant. Simon introduced me to Charles and the rest is history! Small world!