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Back to the Future: The Changing Paradigm for College Textbooks and Libraries

Campus Technology – “The debate over electronic textbooks and ever-increasing costs for traditional textbooks continues to rage. Part of these Web-era dilemmas ironically involves the willingness to face contradictions from the university’s past.

Reliance on textbooks is the rub. It can be understood as a legacy of the post-WWII GI bill. Schools needed industrial-strength solutions to handle the unprecedented waves of new students. Publishers stepped to the fore to offer a commoditized solution, albeit with the best of intentions. They would work with a select group of faculty to produce a wide variety of textbooks, they would entice other instructors with free review copies, and students would incur reasonable shipping and costs. “

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