Friday, January 25, 2013

The Price of Scholarly Materials, Politics, and Access

Here is the full text of an email I just sent to a faculty member and cc'd to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Let's watch what happens, shall we.
Dear [redacted],
Currently all books, save the [redacted] text, have been purchased and will be put on reserve if they have not already. We are considering purchasing the [redacted] text as well. However, under the current textbook paradigm there is a moral hazard, in which the library is supposed to make up the difference between the “perfect” text and a “good” one. This paradigm is unsustainable. If the price of a textbook is the primary factor in whether or not a student will add or drop a course, it is incumbent on faculty to take that into consideration when assigning materials.