An excerpt from the Print-on-Demand Guide, by Lauri Aesoph
Installing a successful print-on-demand service for open textbooks begins with a plan that takes into account the available resources of the college, institute, or university, as well as the needs of its students and instructors. It anticipates potential problems during operation and includes a tracking method that can used during the service’s review and evaluation.
If the goal of an open textbook print-on-demand service is to successfully provide students and instructors with an option that is easy to locate and simple to use, a good place to start is to invite representatives from textbook touchpoint groups to provide input about the service and how they think print on demand for open textbooks should function. The below planning considerations box lists questions that can be used during this first step.
- What would an ideal printing service for open textbooks look like?
- What are the pros and cons of offering this service?
- Are there limitations to what can be provided? What are they and how do they affect the service?
- For institutions that do not have a campus-based bookstore and/or printshop, is there a way to assist students wanting a printed open textbook by providing instructions on how and where to do this through an independent service off campus?
- Will this service be rolled out in stages to allow an assessment of each phase and, if needed, an adjustment to the plan?
- What is the budget needed or available for launching this service? Is the goal to break even or to operate with a deficit that can be covered by the institution?
- Which departments and individuals will be involved and/or affected by this service?
- What steps should be taken to ensure that involved departments and individuals are coordinated in this process? For instance, how will communication regarding assigned responsibilities take place?
- What steps should be taken to ensure that open textbooks assigned to courses in a ZTC program — including the option to print these books — are included in the textbook workflow?
- Will the process for ordering textbooks printed on demand be different for instructors and students?
- Will metrics for this service be tracked? If so, which information will be recorded and by whom?
- How will this new service be advertised to the campus community?
Once feedback has been gathered, a planning committee can be formed by those who provided input and others to begin the work of determining if and how a PoD service should be implemented. The below documents are provided to help guide each phase of the planning process. (The information gathered from these records can also be used to take inventory of open educational activity and interest on campus.)
- Planning timeline [Word file]
- Brainstorm blueprint [Word file]
- Departments and groups [Word file]
- Requirements and budget [Word file]
- Messaging plan [Word file]
- Tracking and assessment [Word file]
Each institution will have a different set of individuals and departments that participate in the planning and undertaking of a PoD service. This guide covers three of those groups: the Printshop, Bookstore, and Library.
There will be times when a print-on-demand service is interrupted. Anticipating and planning for this event should be part of the PoD service blueprint, including possible reasons for a halt to service; expected outage time; and a response plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lengthy and unpredictable interruption to printing, as well as bookstore and library services at post-secondary institutions across Canada and around the world. This has required that every college, institute, and university implement — and update — its response plan for a number of services as the situation evolves.
- Because the intention behind offering open textbooks is to provide students with an affordable course material option, most campus printshops do not make a profit from selling these items. Also, openly licensed books released with a NonCommercial (NC) provision do not allow books to be sold for profit. ↵
- Zero Textbook Cost ↵
- BCcampus Open Education Print-on-Demand Guide: Familiarity and Values
- BCcampus Open Education Print-on-Demand Guide: On-campus Printing: Faster and Cheaper