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Alternative Textbooks: Home

Quick Facts

Textbook Costs:

  • Average cost of course materials is $1,400/year1
  • 66.6% of students didn't purchase a textbook because of cost2
  • 48% said textbook costs impact class selection2
  • Because of high textbook costs3
    • 31% of students didn't register for a course
    • 35% took fewer courses
    • 14% dropped a course

Sources: 2Student PIRG Study, 3Florida Student Textbook Survey

Read More about Alternative Textbooks

Grant Introduction

Since 2014, the Alternative Textbook Grant has saved OU students over $1.9M in textbook costs. We invite you to be a participant in transforming education for our students.

OU Libraries' Alternative Textbook Grants help reduce the cost of course materials by supporting faculty members in the adoption, modification, or creation of openly licensed course content. All University of Oklahoma-Norman full-time faculty and teaching staff are eligible to apply for awards of up to $2,500+ in funding and support. 

Grant applications are open from January 31, 2018 until March 2, 2018.

These grants are designed to support faculty in the adoption of openly licensed solutions to reduce the cost of course materials for students.  Alternative Textbooks give faculty members the power to customize content specifically for their courses as well as provide less expensive textbooks for their students.   

Faculty are not expected to write a textbook.  Many open textbooks have been authored and reviewed by faculty members and educational consortia, and – combined with additional open resources – faculty can create a customized content solution.

If you are interested in adopting an alternative textbook or learning more about open textbooks and other OER, read through the resources in this guide, see our OER guide, or contact Jen WallerCody Taylor, or your liaison librarian.

Why choose an affordable textbook solution?

According to the U.S. Department of education, the cost of higher education for students increased 42% from 2000 to 2010, and the average cost of materials is now at $1,200 per year as reported by the College Board. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that 7 in 10 students didn't purchase a textbook because it was too expensive.  

A recent report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs further shows the effect of the high cost of textbooks and materials on students,

  • The survey found that 94% of students who had foregone purchasing a textbook were concerned that doing so would hurt their grade in a course. More than half of the students felt significant concern for their grade.
  • Nearly half of all students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks impacted how many/which classes they took each semester.

Through alternative textbook solutions, the cost of student materials can be drastically reduced.  Open textbooks also give instructors the ability to customize the materials, creating the "perfect" textbook instead of being bound to traditional print resources. 

There are already faculty at OU using alternative textbooks in their classrooms; you can find out more about them on the tabs above.

OU is seen as a leader in OER and alternative textbook initiatives, but many other academic institutions also have successful initiatives. For example: 


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Cody Taylor, Open Education Coordinator

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Cody Taylor