STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING AN OPEN SOURCE TEXTBOOK IN THE HUMANITIES - A CASE STUDY

C. Mitchell

University of Florida (UNITED STATES)
According to recent statistics, college students in the United States spend an average of $1,100 per year on textbooks. The fact that they are a captive market is reflected by the economics of production. Manufacturers charge more for printing textbooks than trade and the publisher’s markup is usually 30% to 40% before they reach the shelves in college bookstores. Since publishers make no money from used books, new editions are released every two or three years, often with little revision, in order to reestablish their standing and antiquate any stock in circulation. Open source publishing has appeared as an alternative to expensive books but the offerings tend to be limited, especially in the humanities where biases exist toward textbook writing and web material. In this paper, I will share my observations from the creation of an introductory theatre textbook, outlining effective strategies in recruiting authors, structuring copyright, and borrowing elements of the traditional publishing model in order to create a flexible, scholarly, and peer-reviewed text that can be quickly and widely adopted.