Caroline Vanderlip, CEO of SharedBook, has an opinion piece on Inside Higher Ed stating that “going digital” is not a panacea that will automatically bring about lower prices for textbooks. Much as publishers of mass market fiction have been saying, if the costs of producing the material remain the same, the price of the textbook will stay about the same whether the distribution method is digital or electronic. And OER (open educational resources” material will not necessarily change this either, at least for a while—there just isn’t very much of it yet.
Vanderlip writes that the best way of bringing prices down is to make it easier for instructors to mix and match exactly the combination of materials they need from both free and paid content, so that they do not have to pay for additional dead-weight material not needed for their courses.
It’s an approach that sounds like it could work for textbooks, but won’t do anything for mass market fiction. Still, if it lowers the financial burden on college students, that has to be a good thing.
(Found via PersonaNonData.)