Statement on Commercial Textbooks and Libraries
As we begin the Fall 2020 semester, library staff are working hard to provide alternatives to our typical hardcopy course reserves system, including changes such as the open shelving of reserves texts. A significant portion of books on reserve are print copies of required textbooks, which students cannot access without coming into the library. To support instructors and students who are teaching and learning online, we are constantly looking for new approaches to how we acquire course textbooks, especially for digital spaces.
However, this work is hampered by textbook publishers who do not provide electronic purchasing options for libraries. Textbook publishers have built their profit models around selling e-textbooks directly to students. Despite this, we know that the cost of textbooks and other course materials represent a major financial and academic hurdle for many students at Gettysburg College.
Despite the library’s work to make copies of required textbooks available to assist students who are unable to purchase their own, we are unable to purchase an e-textbook version of many publications, due to restrictions from commercial textbook publishers, including:
In courses that have adopted textbooks by these publishers, students who do not purchase the textbook will not have any alternative, digital access to the textbook content.
We are working with instructors to explore and identify viable textbook alternatives, including:
Efforts will be made to secure online materials that are free from digital rights management (DRM) restrictions in order to ensure unfettered student access. DRM includes limits on the number of users that can access a resource at any one time, as well as limits on copying, printing and downloading.