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Textbook Alternatives at Drake: Home

The purpose of this site is to inform Drake instructors on various alternatives to "traditional" textbooks


As we all know, the prices of "traditional" textbooks are both high, and getting higher. Cowles Library is now in a position to offer Drake University instructors a number of options and resources in this area. 

In brief, those options include (but are not limited to!):

1) Using an online book source, such as the 500+ plus scholarly titles available to anyone from JSTOR and/or the tenso fo thousands of  Springer eBooks (the latter brought to you by Cowles Library)

2) Using online, peer-reviewed books as textbooks, such as those offered at the University of Minnesota.

3) Support for constructing your own learning tools (such as those available at

Please contact Bruce Gilbert if you'd like to discuss these options or would like a presentation for your department or group.

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An Introduction to eTextbooks & Open Textbooks


Electronic textbooks (eTextbooks, eBooks) are digital versions of textbooks. The media varies widely from digital reproductions of print editions to versions that include embedded animations, video and interactive features. A good deal of interest in using e-textbooks comes from the reduced cost for students.

Most e-textbooks are currently distributed by commercial publishers and have DRM (digital rights management). They can be read via computer, some cell phones and using eReaders depending on the file format.



An open textbook is a free, openly-licensed textbook offered online by its author(s).

The most common questions in using open textbooks are:

  1. Who will write them?
  2. Who will pay for them? (if payment is made at all)
  3. How will quality standards be established and maintained?
  4. Who will host them?

For example, the CCOTC (Community College Open Textbook Consortium) reviews and collects available textbooks in order to encourage adoption.

Also, the University of Minnesota has a collection of peer-reviewed texts in a variety of subjects.


"Alternatives to Textbooks"  Up-to-date News and resources!

Readings - Open Access

Dir. of Library Instruction

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Bruce Gilbert
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Collection Development Librarian

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Teri Koch
Cowles Library
Drake University
2507 University Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311
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Subjects: Psychology