Due to rapid and continuous technological changes, the publishing world has been dramatically changing for decades, and the textbook industry is not immune. With skyrocketing costs determined by the publishers, colleges and universities have had to find new approaches to support their students’ access and affordability needs. As textbooks became increasingly inaccessible in the 1980s and 1990s, new forms of learning materials were introduced. These included textbook rentals, textbook sharing programs through university libraries, and independent sellers of textbooks that could offer more affordability.
Most recently, digital materials have become more prominent, allowing students to save money and learn in the way they prefer. The digital space includes a variety of material types that are allowing colleges and universities to support their access and affordability goals. Our Day One Digital Access (D1DA) program, like others in the Cal State System and other systems nationally, is an instructor-led course-specific approach that launched in 2019 has resulted in great popularity among students. Purchasing data from CSULB students in particular show a clear preference for digital materials (72 percent) over print (28 percent).
After several years of success, D1DA is now being transitioned to an Equitable Access model, in which students can pay one flat rate and receive all their materials by the first day of class. Over 245 colleges and universities have implemented EA programs. In California, specifically, UC Davis led by launching an EA program in 2019, San Diego State University followed in 2021, and multiple other state universities are preparing EA program launches.
We are preparing for ETA to pilot with the beginning of the fall 2024 semester, bringing the digital-first model to all students across campus. Our current estimate is $250 per semester for full-time students and $165 per semester for part-time students.