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SU Press works with technology platform to customize textbooks, lower costs

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the number of clean digital files publishers give the AcademicPub virtual library was misstated. Publishers provide more than 8 million units of content. The Daily Orange regrets this error.  

The Syracuse University Press is teaming up with a higher-education technology platform to reinvent traditional and costly college textbooks.

SU Press is collaborating with AcademicPub to bring multiple benefits to both SU students and staff, said Caroline Vanderlip, CEO of SharedBook Inc., the parent company of AcademicPub.

AcademicPub allows professors to customize, assemble and price their own course materials into one book, eliminating the need for students to buy multiple books for a class.

“It allows faculty to just select the chapters, journal articles, web documents, links and lectures that they want to use in their course, and basically compile one textbook out of it, instead of assigning multiple text books for purchase,” Vanderlip said.

Professors and students will have the option of purchasing the customized text in either e-book or print format, Vanderlip said. This option is 60-percent cheaper for students than buying traditional textbooks, she said.

The program is already available for professors to use, but will be available via SU Press within the next few weeks.

Beau Brooks, a junior sport management major, said he doesn’t buy required course textbooks because they are often too expensive and he hardly uses them for class.

“Half of the time, we don’t use most of the material in them,” Brooks said. “However, if I was given a cheaper alternative to buying books, I would definitely consider it.”

The AcademicPub virtual library has contracts with more than 210 publishers to date, 50 of which are associated with universities such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Michigan and academic-based publishers like Oxford University Press and Cambridge.

These publishers give the technology platform their clean digital files of more than 8 million units of content to essentially group into simpler chapters, journal articles and more, Vanderlip said.

“AcademicPub.com is available for all faculty to use anywhere in the globe, where faculty come into that site and have multiple options of content from which to select,” Vanderlip said.

SU Press is supplying its content to the AcademicPub library for professors to select for use in their courses, she said.

Vanderlip added that a major benefit of partnering with AcademicPub is that users are able to select content from the company’s library in addition to their own college’s content.

Said Vanderlip: “We are very excited to have Syracuse University Press as part of our library, and were hoping that more SU professors will take advantage of the platform, as well as saving for the students that we support.”

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