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Library Publishing and OERs: The Open SUNY Textbooks program

Kate Pitcher from SUNY Geneseo will be speaking at UNYSLA’s fall conference “Unlocking Open Access” about library publishing and open textbooks. Read on for a preview or register for the conference to hear more.

Between 2002 and 2012, the cost of textbooks rose 82%, as reported by the 2013 U.S. GAO report College Textbooks. In addition, in 2012 the Florida Student Textbook Survey found that, because of textbook costs:

  • 64% of students didn’t purchase a required textbook
  • 45% didn’t register for a course
  • 49% took fewer courses
  • 27% dropped a course

The cost to students and learning is severe, and maintaining library textbooks on reserve is a limited, expensive, and unsustainable solution. Academic libraries and their institutions need new strategies to reduce the cost of textbooks. This presentation discusses the Open SUNY Textbook program, ( a multi-institution program with SUNY faculty & libraries publishing open textbooks and promoting OER use. The program started as an innovative publishing program with key strategies including collaboration across SUNY and libraries, and the rapid prototyping of processes and services. The first pilot has published 7 of the 15 titles selected for publication in 2014 (out of 38 proposals received) and the second pilot has selected 15 more for publication in 2015 (out of 46 proposals received). The publishing program includes peer review, copy editing, and instructional design services. This proof of concept is building our awareness and capacity to publish open textbooks, and in the last 9 months, Open SUNY Textbooks has had over 12,000 new viewers, with almost 20% of these visits from outside the US. This presentation provides a brief summary of the program, lessons learned and next steps to significantly expand the program and adoption of OERs.


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