A recent article provides an example of how faculty members are experimenting with new ways to help make textbooks more affordable for college students. This semester, a professor of marketing at Columbia Business School is offering free online access to his latest independently published textbook. However, the book is only free until the end of the semester when students will be asked to pay the amount they feel the book is worth. It will be interesting to see how students respond to this tactic and if they are willing to pay after the semester, when they have already begun thinking about their upcoming expenses for the holidays and approaching semester. Perhaps knowing that fifty percent of the payments will be donated to college scholarship funds will entice the students to pay more.
Do you know of any experiments around textbooks and pricing occurring on your campus? Can you suggest any experiments that could be conducted with faculty members?