OER vs. The $999 Textbook

Imagine if you were in class, and your Professor assigned a textbook…that cost $999! This is what happened at the University of Louisiana, when students discovered a truly unusual price for their Introduction to Accounting text, as reported by InsideHigherEd.
Such exorbitant textbook prices are rare, but the costs can run up to several hundred dollars per book, depending on the subject. Before you invest in purchasing each course text, consider the following options:

1.) Check the library catalog or ask at the Reference Desk to see if your course text might be on Reserve. This means that you could check the book out for a few hours at a time, or possibly up to 3 weeks. Faculty may put a book on reserve so that the entire class has access to it – and while you’ve checked it out, be sure to scan or photocopy the pages you need.
2.) Ask the professor if you can use an earlier edition of the book. Depending on the course, this may be possible – if so, it will be easier to obtain that previous edition at a CUNY library.
3.) Search for a “Zero-Textbook-Cost” (ZTC) course in CUNYFirst! These are courses in which the materials will be made available to you, for free.  We have a handy guide on how to find these courses.

ZTC courses are made possible by relying upon Open Educational Resources (OER), which are developing as an alternative to the skyrocketing textbook fees.  On this page, there are links to various OER textbooks that you can integrate into your own learning – for free, online, and quality-approved by faculty.

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