Cash-strapped students are often on the lookout for affordable solutions to the textbook issue, and fortunately, help is available. Through a variety of programs offered on community college campuses and across the Internet, students are finding they can save a bundle on the textbooks they need.
- Using textbook rental services
- Borrowing textbooks from libraries
- Participating in textbook exchanges
- Getting textbooks for free or nearly free online
- Finding used textbooks at a reduced price
While all of these options offer their own advantages and drawbacks, using a variety of methods to secure all the textbooks you need for any given semester can reap serious rewards in terms of saving money. In addition to the tried and true savings programs, some college professors are getting involved in the affordable textbook cause to find resources for students that provide them with the information they need to ace a class without going into the red to do so.
- Borrowing from the local library
- Borrowing an extra copy from the professor
- Book exchanges found online or on campus
- Online textbooks that can be accessed at no charge
Two math professors at community colleges in Ohio have banded together to produce a free e-textbook, "College Algebra," for their students, according to a report from WKYC.com. Lakeland Community College professor Dr. Carl Stitz, and Lorain County Community College professor Dr. Jeff Zeager co-wrote the textbook in an effort to improve the quality of college math textbooks, as well as make them more affordable to students.
The textbook can be downloaded for free by students. If they prefer, they can also order a printed copy of the textbook for the cost of printing and binding, which totals less than $20 per book. The professors have been approached by many publishers, but have declined to publish their textbook in favor of keeping it affordable to students. Colleagues across the country have applauded their efforts, and Dr. Stitz was recently named among the outstanding faculty at University System of Ohio Institutions for creating integrated digital content for his courses.
- Training for instructors who want to adopt open resources
- Peer reviews of open textbooks
- Support for authors opening their resources
- A professional network for those interested in creating or using open resources
There are numerous textbooks already available through the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative, and the organization is hoping to expand that number all the time.