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***This message is being cross posted to several Educause constituent groups, for which I apologize***


Good afternoon!


As I am sure is true with others, we are concerned about student outcomes, as well as the declining numbers of students acquiring full complements of textbooks due to their cost through the bookstore, which in our instance is the sole vehicle provided for students using Financial Aid. In order to facilitate the distribution of a larger number of materials to all of our students, we have been exploring a number of options, including acquiring digital course content either directly from the vendor/publisher and embedding the cost into a course fee or other channels and participating in a consortium of institutions to develop Open Educational Resources. However, we appear to have hit a stumbling block with the word “text” that is in our bookstore contract.


In order to educate ourselves and better understand whether we any position to articulate in response, I am seeking your input to several questions.


Are there any known studies, beyond one reported in 2011 by The Chronicle as being conducted by the US Public Interest Group, on the percentage of students not purchasing texts?


Are there any known studies on the course outcomes of students who did not purchase textbooks for courses?


Have any of your institutions been able to bypass the “text” clause in bookstore contracts to directly acquire digital course content that includes an eText? (In addition to directly from publishers, this would include participation in the Educause/Internet2 pilot project, or other vendors).


Has anyone had an issue in participating in an OER initiative as a result of “text” clause.


Thank you in advance for any input you might be able to provide regarding these questions or others I may not have considered.



Best regards,



Arthur J. Fridrich

Director, Distance Education

Virginia State University

125 Cameron Building

Petersburg, VA

 Tel.: (804) 524-3194





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Art, check out this case study by VitalSource (an eTextbook provider), about Plymouth University going “digital”.


Article from NY Times.




Melinda M. Livas, MLIS, MA

Distance Services Librarian

Mathematics Liaison

C.G. O’Kelly Library

Winston Salem State University


Skype: savilm03


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