Alt-Textbook Project

The NCSU Libraries is committed to fostering change in the current textbook publishing environment. The Libraries’ Copyright and Digital Scholarship Center is available to partner with faculty members on licensing resources, using digital repositories, and creating and publishing their own open educational resources. The Alt-Textbook Project will empower faculty to innovate pedagogically, enhance access for NC State students to high-quality, tailored educational materials, and reduce the financial burden of expensive textbooks.

The Problem with Textbooks

  • Runaway textbook costs on college campuses have become a major impediment to student success.
  • Textbook costs have outpaced inflation by 300% over the last 30 years.
  • Students spend an average of $1,200 per year on textbooks.
  • 7 out of 10 students have forgone purchasing college textbooks because of cost, according to a recent PIRG survey on 13 college campuses.

Open Educational Resources: A Solution

Many alternatives to the current textbook publishing landscape have emerged in the last decade, allowing faculty to easily find and use current, high-quality free online Open Educational Resources for their courses. Projects such as Open Textbook Library and OpenStax College provide access to free, peer-reviewed textbooks covering a wide variety of subjects, while other initiatives such as OpenStax CNX and Merlot II provide repositories of peer-reviewed open educational materials that can be remixed and customized by faculty who wish to build their own textbook or course materials.

The Alt-Textbook Project

NCSU Libraries awards grants to faculty to adopt, adapt, or create free or low-cost alternatives to expensive textbooks. In the Fall 2014 term, the NCSU Libraries awarded the first round of grants, saving NC State students more than $250,000 in the one year. The second round of Alt-Textbook projects is underway, expected to save students over $100,000 more. 

How to Apply

Complete the Call for Proposals form with information about your course and a brief narrative describing your proposed alternative to a commercial textbook.  All current faculty members of NC State University teaching courses in Spring or Fall 2017 are eligible to apply. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact the Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center.​


Will Cross, NCSU Libraries Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center

Erica Hayes, NCSU Libraries Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center