IU instructors and students may soon have more access to customized textbooks from IU Press with a new partnership between the Bloomington publisher and AcademicPub.
AcademicPub is not based at IU. The IU Press and other university publishers provide texts for AcademicPub subscribers. Instructors can use the AcademicPub platform online to add their own content and to find articles or other sources on the Web. They can then splice this content into standard online course materials.
This platform is similar to the eTexts program in place at IU, which also allows instructors to create customized course packs online and include other content with their textbooks. The program began two years ago to lower textbook costs for students. Through eTexts, students can also highlight and annotate text and share those notes with their classmates.
However, eTexts generally include an entire textbook, while AcademicPub sells books in smaller units — generally chapter by chapter, said Jim Boyle, a Public Affairs representative for AcademicPub.
The IU Press is one of over 50 university-based publishers which have formed a partnership with AcademicPub in order to sell textbooks and journals. The content will be digitized and uploaded to the AcademicPub library, where it will be available for instructors for a royalty fee.
IU Press produces about 140 books and 28 journals annually, according to its website. It specializes in journals and books that focus on social sciences and the humanities, with topics ranging from gender studies to gardening.
Boyle said the company seeks out university-based publishers for more scholarly texts.
“They’re creating specialized content that isn’t the type that’s usually sold at a Barnes and Noble or that people find on Amazon,” Boyle said. “It’s for academic purposes.”
The service is meant to allow instructors to customize course materials and draw various resources into one consistent location.
“It takes disparate materials and makes them look consistent,” Boyle said. “It presents them that way to make it more friendly to the user.”
Boyle said this will help instructors and publishers by making course materials more accessible.
“The point is not to change content,” he said. “It’s not like Wikipedia where you change an entry. You’re taking content that is copyright cleared, protected, often peer-reviewed, and making it available to your students for a lower cost than it would be otherwise.”
— Tori Fater
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