Friday, 1 June 2007

Radical changes in textbook publishing

A federal panel has completed an exhaustive study of the textbook publishing market and is recommending sweeping changes that focus on the digital delivery of information. The panel was created because of increasing concerns about the rapidly rising cost of textbooks (ask any law student!). The final report "Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable," says that "a supply-driven, producer-centric market must be transformed into a demand-driven, college- and student-centric market". The solution that the panel recommends is a digital marketplace - a centralized data library of textbook resources. It envisages a website, customized by institution, where faculty will be able to review and choose course materials and assemble pieces from various publishers. Then students will be able to order course items in print or electronic formats.
The study, published on the U. S. Dept. of Education website, includes a Fact Sheet and a table of current state legislation that deals with the cost of textbooks.
This should have librarians abuzz!

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