I recommend that authors check with their campus bookstore to see if it’s possible to create a printed copy for students. Our campus bookstore is able to print out course packs for students, which are often lab manuals or supplemental readings, and so for my class, I had them create printed copies of my textbook. It cost students around $15 and almost everyone bought a hard copy even though the book is also free online. — Caitie Finlayson, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, University of Mary Washington. Author of World Regional Geography (CC BY NC SA).
Where will students be able to get the textbook you’re writing? Consider where you want to distribute your completed open textbook before you start. That way you can familiarize yourself with your preferred distribution channel’s requirements, including file types.
In addition, sharing certain file types allow for easier editing down the line. For more information, see Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know.
In addition, depending on your subject and students, your main audience may prefer a print copy, online option or both. Their preferences can impact how your book is ultimately designed. In the K-12 context especially, there may be a one-to-one initiative or a classroom set of devices to consider, too.
Here are some places you can distribute your textbook:
- Open Textbook Library
- Institutional repository
- Learning Registry
- Learning management system (LMS)
- OER Commons
- Personal website
- Campus bookstore
- District website
One thing to keep in mind as you decide where to share your textbook: Whenever you make updates, you’ll want to update all distribution channels.
Open Textbook Library
The Open Textbook Library is a growing resource for higher education open textbooks. Many textbooks are reviewed by faculty to assess their quality. All textbooks in the Open Textbook Library are either used at multiple higher education institutions or affiliated with an institution, scholarly society or professional organization. By including a textbook in the library, authors make it easier for other faculty to discover, use and review the textbook.
Open Textbook Library up-to-date guidelines and criteria: open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/ourbooks.aspx