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Faculty: Read This If You Need eTextbooks

calendar icon August 9, 2021
professor with textbook

Commercial textbooks present challenges in an online environment.

As we approach the Fall semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternative access to the print course reserves collection. A significant portion of the books on reserve, or short-term loan, are print copies of required textbooks, and students cannot access them without coming into the library. Centennial Campus libraries remain temporarily closed until further notice.

However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Many existing course textbooks are simply unavailable to libraries in any other format than print. Textbook publishers have built their profit models around selling e-textbooks directly to students, for individual use. Despite this, we also know that the cost of textbooks and other course materials represent a major financial hurdle for students at Centennial College.

The following publishers will not allow us to purchase an e-textbook version of their publications:
* Pearson
* Cengage
* McGraw Hill
* Nelson
* Oxford University Press Textbooks
* Elsevier
And more…

This means that in courses that have adopted textbooks by these publishers, students who do not purchase the textbook will not have any alternative access to the textbook content.

We work with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:
* Using an existing e-book in the relevant subject area from the library’s e-book collection or requesting that the library purchase one. There are many academic e-books that aren’t considered textbooks, and are therefore available for the library to purchase.
* Adopting an open educational resource (OER). OERs are freely available educational materials that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification by instructors. Contact your subject librarian for help getting started with OER in your area.
* Use library services to make your course readings available online:
-- Use eReserves to make course readings available with copyright support through the library subject to copyright and licensing limitations.
-- Link to content from the library’s existing collection of electronic resources (e-books, journal articles, streaming media, and other digital materials)

Any instructors teaching a fall course are also welcome to contact the library at any time for support with sourcing their course materials.

* Reach out to your subject librarian to discuss options available for your area,
* Copyright and eReserves questions can be directed to:

Thank you to University of Guelph Libraries for their work in this area– we have adapted this statement with their permission.