Textbook affordability and accessibility helps students succeed

As part of its ongoing efforts to increase textbook affordability for Oregon State University students, the OSU Beaver Store is supporting OSU’s open textbook initiative by distributing freely-available open source textbooks on its digital e-commerce platform.

The University’s open textbook initiative is a collaboration between OSU Libraries, OSU Press and Open Oregon State. It provides financial, technical and editorial support for faculty members to create texts that will be freely accessible online to any student in the world.

The OSU Beaver Store’s website displays the textbooks used in each course at OSU, along with price comparisons to the online marketplace. When that required course content happens to be open source, the store now distributes or links to those freely-available digital materials.

“We’ve created a one-stop portal for OSU students to connect to all of their course materials, be they paid or freely-available,” said Steve Eckrich, OSU Beaver Store President & CEO. “We’re providing students with every possible format to choose from, including digital, rental, and now free open source content.”

The OSU Beaver Store has been providing price-transparency to students for many years using its online price comparison tool. Its website displays the store’s prices for new, used, digital, and rental course materials alongside the prices of amazon.com and others.

“Because the OSU Beaver Store provides the largest student discount of any college store in the country, we are very price-competitive with the online marketplace. We also provide certainty that the student is getting the correct book and edition, with the option to get it more quickly in-store and have in-store returns that don’t require shipping,” said James Howard, OSU Beaver Store Academic Materials Manager.

The OSU Beaver Store works very closely with faculty to procure the materials they want to use for their courses. It sources a wide variety of formats and pricing options for students and ensures that students have the complete and accurate information they need to be informed consumers. “Adding freely-available open source content to our digital platform is a natural extension of our commitment to textbook affordability as a student-based organization,” said Eckrich.

OSU Beaver Store is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization governed by a board of directors composed of OSU students, faculty and staff. The Company has been serving the OSU community since its founding in 1914. Company profits are returned to OSU students, faculty, and staff through a member discounting program referred to as the “Back to Beavs” discount, which applies to all books.

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