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Monday, October 18 • 5:00pm - 5:10pm
A Look at the Fine Print Behind Automatic Textbook Billing

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Known by brand names like “Inclusive Access” and “First Day,” automatic textbook billing programs charge the cost of digital course materials directly to each student’s tuition and fee bill, often without their explicit consent. While vendors say this model provides access, it differs sharply from truly inclusive models like open educational resources. All you need to do is look at the fine print.

SPARC created the Automatic Textbook Billing Contract Library as a resource for advocates and institutions to read the fine print of legal agreements behind automatic textbook billing programs. The library can be used to compare, contrast and download the full text of contracts between U.S. public institutions and major publishing, bookstore, and technology vendors. The spreadsheet breaks down each contract based on data points such as price caps, resale rates, and discount structures. Contracts can also be filtered and sorted by state, vendor, and institution.

This lightning talk will provide observations and recommendations based on an analysis of automatic textbook billing contracts. It will also highlight the differences between automatic textbook billing and open educational resources.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Access and explore the Automatic Textbook Billing Contract Library
  • Identify common bad practices in automatic textbook billing contracts
  • Explain the differences between open educational resources and automatic textbook billing

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Winni Zhang

Open Education Project Manager, SPARC

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Monday October 18, 2021 5:00pm - 5:10pm EDT
Room F