Custom-published course materials have been available for a long time, but represented only a tiny fraction of all college and university class materials, largely due to cost, technical limitations, poor business practices, and lack of awareness of the benefits to students, among other barriers.
Those hurdles are crumbling, though. In the wake of calls for more affordable course materials and more support for learning outcomes, custom publishing is becoming a more attractive and viable option, one that more faculty are choosing once they understand how it works.
When done correctly, “smart” custom materials encompass precisely the content a professor needs students to learn—and no more. Students get the content at a much-reduced cost and are therefore more likely to acquire and use it. Publishers and campus bookstores typically see higher sell-through with custom materials, with fewer student complaints about prices and classes not using all the required content.
To help faculty, bookstores, and other campus stakeholders understand the advantages of “smart” custom publishing and how to determine when it’s right for a particular course, NACS Media Solutions (NMS) compiled the Guide to Custom as a resource and starting point.