June Office Hours: More than a Button – Getting Open Textbooks into Print

Office Hours

Watch the video recording of this Office Hours session, or keep reading for a full transcript. The chat transcript is also available, for those interested in reading the conversation that took place amongst participants and seeing resources shared.


Note: If anyone would prefer to not be associated with their comments in either of these transcripts, please contact Apurva as soon as possible and we will remove any names or other identifying information.

Audio Transcript

Speakers:

  • Jonathan Lashley
  • Amanda Wentworth
  • Liz Mays
  • Karen Lauritsen
  • Zoe Wake Hyde
  • Caitlin Balgeman
  • Sybil Priebe
  • Wilhelmina Randtke
  • Amanda Larson
  • Jonas Lamb
  • Matthew DeCarlo
  • Apurva Ashok

Zoe: Hi everybody, wonderful to see so many familiar faces and names and some new ones, too. Welcome to this month’s Office Hours. I’m Zoe from the Rebus Community. Really excited to chat today with our guests and all of you about print and OER. This has been a really popular topic we’ve seen from the RSVPs. With that in mind, I’ll just note that if you’re not speaking, I might ask you to turn your video off just so we make sure that everything stays stable as we go. 

But certainly, turn it on if you want to chime in at any point and ask questions when we get to that portion. As always, we are thrilled to be hosting this session with our partners at OTN. And so, we’ll hand over to Karen in a moment to introduce our guests. And I wanted to start with a little moment of being a professional book nerd, I’m really excited to talk about this topic. I’ve been blown away myself when you actually see an OER in print, what kind of impact it can have. 

But there’s certainly a lot of work that goes into getting to that point, which is what we’re going to be chatting about today. So, I hope it’s a really interesting and useful session for you all. I look forward to hearing from everybody. So, thank you, Karen. 

Karen: All right, thanks, Zoe. Hi everyone, I’m Karen Lauritsen with the Open Textbook Network. And we’re excited to be here co-hosting Office Hours with the Rebus Community. So, as you or many of you probably know in these sessions we talk informally about issues in open textbook publishing. And these conversations are really community driven, so there was a comment in the chat that these topics are always really great, and we usually get our ideas from you. 

So, please let us know what you’d like to talk about in future Office Hours sessions. So, as Zoe mentioned, today we’re going to talk about making OER available in print. And why is it so hard? That’s the secret subtitle. It’s not as easy as it seems like it should be, so today we’re going to talk about how to research print-on-demand suppliers, on campus printing options, ISBNs, dealing with bookstores, creating print covers and all sorts of good stuff. 

So, I too am excited to learn a lot more. And we’ll hear from each of our guests for about three to five minutes, and then turn things over to you for your questions and comments. So, unfortunately, we just heard one of our guests, Brian Mosher is feeling unwell today. So, he will not be able to join us as expected, but we have three fabulous guests, who will talk and I’ll hand things over to them shortly, after I tell you who they are. 

We’re going to first hear from Amanda Wentworth, she is OER publishing coordinator at SUNY. And next, we’ll hear from Elizabeth Mays, she’s the director of sales and marketing at Pressbooks. And then, finally, we’ll hear from Jonathan Lashley, who is senior instructional technologist at Boise State University. So, now I’m going to turn things over to our guests. Amanda, if you will please kick us off. 

Amanda: Hi everyone, and thank you, Karen. So, first of all I do want to thank Rebus and the Open Textbook Network for co-hosting today’s discussion, for this super important topic. And I’m really excited to see that this has come to the forefront of the open community’s crazy hive mind because when we all put our heads together to do something, amazing things get done. So, that’s very exciting. 

With no time to waste, there were a few things that I wanted to touch on about SUNY’s experience with print OER. Firstly, SUNY takes print very seriously, seriously enough to bring on someone full-time, yours truly, to handle all of that craziness. From the SUNY perspective, print is important for many reasons but let me just give two real quick. First of all, this is a seemingly obvious one, but offline access, it is a super important thing. 

And then, a second one, with a bit more nuance is engagement of reluctant old school, apologies for the air quotes, faculty members. So, we have 64 campuses in the SUNY system. We are engaging with most of them in OER. And my job is to work with all of those campuses to coordinate their print efforts if they need me. So, a majority of the SUNY campuses are in upstate New York, which is a largely rural area.

The concrete jungle, that is downstate. Up here, most of the state is all rural, so we have inequitable internet service for the most part and plenty of our students can only access reliable internet on campus. So, offline access is very, very important for these types of students. And the second point that I wanted to touch on about the importance of print from our SUNY perspective is this idea of holding a real book. 

So, that has many effects, there’s that romantic feeling of page flipping to that practical need to annotate, we all know how that feels to be able to write in our books. But my primary interest when I came on was in using these real books to ease those hesitant professors, those old school OER anxiety that they might have. Print opens possibilities, it’s inclusive and it includes those professors who wouldn’t even consider OER if it all had to be online. 

There’s a big learning curve with OER and print is a great gateway to all of that. The second thing I wanted to talk about real quick was our experience with setting up print-on-demand. So, I got on board right when we switched to Lightning Source as our printer and distributor. Lightning Source is a subgroup of Ingram, so there was a bunch of learning curves with that and some growing pains (laughs). 

But ultimately, we decided on this because we value our bookstores with this whole process. And Ingram is obviously a familiar name and it’s definitely familiar to bookstores. So, this is going to follow their typical ordering process, except for a few key differences. One is that it’s print-on-demand and because of that there are no returns that are accepted. So, that’s an adjustment for a lot of our bookstores. 

And Lightning Source also allows us to distribute through Amazon, and we don’t stress the Amazon thing so much, because we do want to value our bookstores and we want them to get first dibs on those sales. However, Amazon is definitely an important distributor right now, and provides out of state or even out of country access for our books, which we really value. 

I just wanted to quickly show you all some examples of what our books look like when they come from Lightning Source. So, this is an example of what we would call a master version, this is a whole Lumen Course with absolutely no editing, no cutting down, as you can tell, because it’s very large. And then, a smaller example of something that an actual faculty member at Alfred State College wrote, she wrote the whole thing. And we’re able to print that for her, easy-peasy. 

The third thing I wanted to touch on real quick was cost. So, we access Lightning Source through SUNY Press. I don’t have an insider perspective about the base costs of doing that preliminary business with Lightning Source. We are very fortunate that we have that pathway offered to us through SUNY Press. What I do know, and I can tell you about, is that they have some charges that you have to deal with when you’re working through them like from my place of uploading content, placing orders. 

Well, I don’t place orders, but placing orders for things to be printed. So, their distribution charge comes in at around $10 and then, if you want to make any edits or changes after the book has been published, that’s about $40. So, there are those kinds of ongoing costs that you have to keep in mind when you’re thinking about print-on-demand. Some challenges, there’s a lot of challenges, but a couple that I’ll talk about are understanding bookstore operations, and a little bit of bookstore culture. 

That was a big challenge for me, I am not familiar with that and I have learned a lot in the past year about that. Each of our schools are different, we maybe the State University of New York, but there are 64 of us and there are 64 different, individual campuses. All of those cultures are different, and they all require different approaches. So, this is much more of a learning curve than it is an ongoing challenge, because almost all of these bookstores are supportive of OER. 

All of them appreciate the efforts that we’re making to include them. And then, there is of course the Lightning Source learning curve. Let me give you a concrete example of what I’m talking about here. We discovered that there was a middleman and so, pricing was the biggest hurdle we had to jump over for this because we had to make some decisions that were a little over our head at first about how to price these books so that they could be as affordable as possible to students. 

And so, that we leave some wiggle room in for bookstores to charge for their profit margin and to cover overhead costs and all of that. So, we set this up so that we have almost no publisher compensation, right? So, that’s the best we could do from our end and then dealing with wholesale discounts were a bit of a challenge. So, another challenge is PDF creation, so how fast a print project can go, depends on what kind of source file you get from a faculty member, right?

So, we deal with, like I said, a lot of old school faculty members when we’re in the print environment. And so, I’ve gotten files in Word Perfect, I can’t do anything with that (laughs), but there are plenty of people who still work in those formats. So, those are things to keep in mind when you’re thinking about delving into print. For our platform, we use Pressbooks, love Pressbooks. You’ll be hearing more about that later. 

And I have been playing around with my colleague Ed Beck with offline prints in order to do some of that PDF creation as we’re waiting for Pressbooks to finish their updating sprint. They’ve been doing great work to improve their platform even more than it already is. And so, in the meantime, we’ve been doing some of that kind of experimenting and it’s been great fun. 

And I know that I’m running out of time, so I just wanted to highlight a fun success is that it’s always great to include your students in these kinds of projects, and one of the things that we had the most fun with was having a student help us with making a cover. Now, Allison Brown with SUNY OER Services designed this cover, but a student at Corning Community College did the artwork. 

And it’s absolutely beautiful and licensed this artwork CC BY. So, that was a really fun success and we are able to use that and make our content really unique. But also, something like Frankenstein, we’re able to make that unique to us and to Corning. And we’re also giving that student some representation. So, I think that’s all I’m going to say for now, because I do want us to be able to move on. So, thank you for your time. And I’ll talk to you in a minute. 

Karen: Thank you, Amanda. And now, I’ll turn things over to Liz. 

Liz: Great, I’m Liz Mays, and just to give you some context for my experience in print-on-demand I am the marketing and sales director for Pressbooks, where at one point we had looked into Lightning Source. I also previously worked at Rebus Community, where I managed print-on-demand for several of their titles. And I am the co-editor or editor of two open textbooks and further to that, I am faculty adjunct at Arizona State University, where I teach solely online. 

So, I’m going to preface this by saying this morning on Twitter I said, “I love print” and that is true. I can’t even remember the last time I read something, a book that was not in print. Literally years ago, and I prefer print for all kinds of reasons. However, I am going to provide a little bit of a counterpoint here. And to the conversation on one of the OERs that I had been co-editor on, I recently had someone say, “I’d love to market this to some faculty teaching this course.

Can I get some copies of the print version?” And I said, “Well, wait, please don’t market the print version and here’s why.” (Laughs) First of all, I don’t want students to have— this is an enormous book, it’s 400 pages. And because of that paper is expensive, printing is expensive, and I don’t really want students to have to buy this book. That was part of the reason we did an open textbook, so they don’t have buy it. 

And there’s also a lot of cool things on the webbook of this book, which was done in Pressbooks. On the webbook you can get fun formative quizzes, you can basically annotate the book and have a two-way conversation with yourselves in the classroom, with the authors even. There’s video things that we link to in the book. The book is a little bit more current than the last print-on-demand version we did. 

Students can read it on their cellphone, they can download it in other formats if they really do want to for instance print off a chapter. They can actually do that themselves, you don’t have to make them buy the whole book, even if they want just a chapter or something. But most importantly, it’s free, so I’ve had that experience. And then, even in my own classroom, I use an OER for one of the classes I teach that’s only online. 

However, that OER was built in Africa, so to get it printed and shipped, it’s like $55. And what I ran into at my university is the place where you as a faculty tell students what the textbook is so they can arrive all ready to class and everything, well it’s managed by our bookstore which is owned by Follett. And there is no way currently to put a link to a free and open online textbook or a digital version. 

And if you do that, and you try to do that, what they will do is they will either buy copies of the print version, or they will only display the print version, which will result in my students buying the print version. So, I am probably one of the few professors in America who actually emails my students before the class starts and tells them, “Please don’t buy your textbook.”

And that was proposed to me as the best workaround. Say there’s no textbook and tell your students not to actually buy it. And then, in my course itself, I have this highlighted and everything. But again, it is an online class by definition, so we are not in a situation where they can’t get online, they absolutely have to get online to take any piece of that particular course, so that’s an unusual nuance. 

Now, going back to the cost of print, I want to say a few things in defense of the cost of print, especially for large books. There is a cost to any paper that you want to print. There is a cost to printing, there is a cost to the staff who print things. There’s shipping, and I remember when we were doing the research for what would it cost to actually print books, when you actually look at it, there is a very low profit. 

So, on a $19.99 book, this is actually figures based on IngramSpark from several years ago, but on a $19.99 book, Ingram would take 30% which is the minimum wholesale fee that they would take. There was a print charge of $9, which left about $5 on top of that. And when you actually count in things like staff time and the setup fees and different things that happen or shipping if you’re doing a big batch, basically there was a very low profit. Less than $5 and only after you had sold 25 books but before you had sold 50 books. 

So, that is one issue and then, there was also the issue of the complexity of choosing a platform. So, for instance, Creative Commons books were not necessarily allowed on some print-on-demand platforms like Create Space at the time which is no longer available. Another complexity was if you as a printer or a publisher of a book are making a decision to use print-on-demand and you’ve done Amazon for anything as that entity, you then have to pull all of your stuff from Amazon and wait 12 months if you do want to switch to Ingram.

So, for us, that was a big D decision, like something you really have to think about. At the university I was previously a full-time staff at a university, and I tried to get a print-on-demand version of a book we had created done and unfortunately, I wanted to do that through Amazon. But they make you enter a bank account and tax information, which you can imagine how many challenges I had trying to get the bank account for the university. (Laughs)

Didn’t happen, sadly. And then, there’s also the notion of different print-on-demand providers if for instance you’re pushing distribution through Ingram as opposed to doing it directly on Amazon. There are differences in how the metadata and the authors will show up. There may be limitations to how many authors you can credit for instance, was one limitation I ran into. And then, there’s the issue of the lead time for that. 

For me, I’ve always run into issues where particularly with the print-on-demand options like IngramSpark, for instance doesn’t give you a website where you can just send faculty and staff to buy the book. You have to have them push it into other channels, like Barnes and Noble and Amazon and such, and that can take six to eight weeks. It doesn’t always take that long, but sometimes it does. 

I believe one thing we didn’t finish researching was Lulu, which they have a really nice website for the book and some other benefits, so maybe that would have been an option. Another question that we mulled over when we decided on print-on-demand again, we did it with the intention of first of all validating the authors, bringing legitimacy to that thing, the act of collaborating and volunteering to work on this project. That was really important. 

We also believe that the faculty, I actually had a faculty member when I was talking about the online book, he actually had the print book in his bag, and he’s like, “Look, I highlighted it, and I’ve been using it, and here are my great little—” It was awesome and very validating. And I can imagine many scenarios where you might want to be doing notes in the margin and different things as a faculty member as well. 

But if you don’t do print-on-demand, then what happens? Do people start creating print-on-demand for you at really high prices? And for that matter, what happens when I issue a second edition, if I take the first edition down, are people going to start scalping rare copies for ridiculous amounts of money? The whole point of this was to reduce costs for students. Would students buy the wrong edition? Could that confusion happen if I leave them both?

So, those are all the basic experiences, problems, challenges I’ve run into that I wanted to talk about today. So, I’ll stop there. 

Karen: Thanks very much, Liz. And finally, I will turn things over to Jonathan. 

Jonathan: Hi everyone. It’s great to be here, thanks for having me. And I do also want to point out that in addition to being a full-time senior technologist for Boise State, I also do work with the OTN as faculty presents. Thanks for having OTN and Rebus. I come at this from a slightly different angle, and I think that’s why I was included today. And that’s from the position as a designer, especially an interaction and experience designer. 

The earlier part of my career before I really got serious in higher ed was about visual communication, visual design, and actually for print specifically, the thing is I don’t have a lot of the same romantic trappings about prints. To me, it’s all a practical consideration in terms of engaging audience, harkening to I think a point that was made by both the other speakers, some people just want prints. 

And if my goal as a designer is to reach as many people as possible in meaningful ways, that means that even if I’m designing digital experiences, it behooves me to think about print applications of those experiences. And so, to just give a little bit of breakdown on my background in particular, I got started with prints and a lot of prosumer products like Adobe’s Creative Suite when I was in high school, just being an editor in my student newspaper. 

And then, went on to college and I was hellbent on being a double major in advertising and graphic design and wanting to do really interesting stuff with typography, and prints. And I caught the teaching bug and became a teacher. And the reason I get to this point is my work as a teacher is what attracted me to a conversation I saw on Twitter back last August. As an educator, most of the classes I’ve taught are in composition studies, writing studies, and specifically in technical and professional communication. 

And since the 90s and what made people refer to as a visual turn, there’s been this preoccupation with what is visual rhetoric, what is visual literacy, how does writing transcend just the written word? And how do we unpack images, and different media? And so, I had a lot of experience in teaching these concepts to students, the theory of what goes into designing good media, what goes into designing a good composition, layout, font choices, all of the rhetoric that’s bound within these decisions. 

And so, luck would have it that last August a number of colleagues of mine who I follow in OER, they were having this conversation on Twitter about how nice would it be if there were more people in the OER community, who had this experience or had this expertise in not only teaching students the theory of book design, about font choice, image choice, and placement and so on? But also, being able to come in and volunteer skills as a designer?

And I said, “Hey, pump the brakes, I like all of you, and whatever you’re talking about I really want to know more about this. I’d like to hear.” And so, what ended up happening is Christina Hendricks who is the editor of a series, the introduction to philosophy series Rebus is producing, and Apurva reached out to me and over the last few months, I’ve been working on project with them. 

I’ve been advising on some initial choices about Pressbooks formatting, Pressbooks does really eliminate a lot of the guesswork in terms of just general layout and it has a lot of the styles already built in to adhere to more conventional textbook conventions. Conventional conventions. And what they also needed though was covers, and for a while, there was back and forth about what assets do we have on hand? What style do we like? 

What other textbooks are out there? What do readers expect from a textbook image? And I loved it because there was a part of me when I was an art major that I would have loved nothing more than designing album covers and book covers for the rest of my life because it’s great. You get to design art that everyone gets to enjoy. And so, over a series of months and again, this was volunteer work, and so, I know that I wasn’t at my most efficient. 

We ended up engineering what I think are really striking covers, because we’re thinking longitudinally across this whole series of books. And so, not only will they hold up digitally, but will they hold up across these different topics within philosophy? And furthermore now, what are the print implications of that? And so, it’s really easy to get excited about creative projects but they can also be really intimidating. 

And so, the more you can distribute these tasks to specialists, and this has been my experience as well, because we do a lot of work with Pressbooks in my office. I’ve done a lot of work with publishing in higher ed for different types of media, and I’ve worked with students on this as well. The more you can engage people with really specific skillsets and get them involved in the process, the more efficient the process can become. 

Because ultimately, I’ve seen this even in online learning development, in my work with instructional designers, we all want to be creative and it’s like the golden era for having access to prosumer software. That said, I know I can more efficiently navigate Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign than a lot of my colleagues who really want to sit there and play. And I know it’s a fun experience, but at the end of the day, these projects they have to be executed. 

And they have to be executed especially if you’re thinking about print, you have to think about pre-flight, you have to think about colors, you have to think about bleeds and cropping and all the printer marks that need to go into producing a book that’s going to be reliably what you want it to be, because printing is expensive. As Amanda showed off with that large book earlier. The more pages that you have, the more likely there’s going to be errors. 

And you have one shot for what you’re paying for, and so it’s one of those things that these projects I think really benefit from having a little help from your friends. I’m tooting my own horn there, because I’m the one who volunteered. But it’s been a lot of fun, and I think that it really behooves us to leverage our networks and see who’s out there that can help lend their skills. 

Karen: Thank you, Jonathan. And thank you to all three of our guests. So, there is, as always, an active chat and a lot of conversation already happening. I will try to surface the questions that may or may not have been answered already, or if you guys would like to explore more please feel free to unmute, turn on your camera, make yourself known. It can be a little bumpy with this larger group, but don’t let that deter you, we will appreciate hearing from you. 

So, I think the first question we got was from Jonas, who asked are those charges per title offered for sale via POD platform, not for purchase? And I think this was directed as Amanda, I believe. Amanda, when you were giving your introduction are you able to connect Jonas’ question with what you were saying?

Amanda: Yes. I did want to address that. So, I think I understand what you’re asking. Those charges, they’re a one-time charge for each book. So, once you finish and put a book through the print-on-demand platform you have that $10 charge for getting it through. And then, that’s for one book, if you wanted to make those changes it would be that $40 that I was talking about. It’s a one-time charge, does that make sense?

Karen: Okay. I see a thanks from Jonas on the chat, so thank you, Amanda. Caitlin and Liz were chatting about Follett, and Caitlin said, “My understanding was that you can have Follett say you’re using an open textbook on their website, but perhaps they just don’t allow links.” Liz, do you want to say a little more?

Liz: Yeah, and again, as I clarified that was about a year ago, maybe they’ve improved this. But at the time, I think the reason for my particular challenge was the notion of an ISBN. So, Follett will only allow you to display a book with an ISBN. And in the case of the OER I was using in my classroom the ISBN had only been attached to the print version. So, that is the only thing they could display, and the print version was very, very expensive because it was shipping across continents. 

The other issue is that there was no way to include a link to a free online version of a book. And by default, you wouldn’t necessarily expect that type of version of a book to even have an ISBN. You might expect the ebook format to have an ISBN or something but there was no real way to be like just upload the book, or just upload the link to the book. And so, the problem was I would only be showing my students the print expensive edition. 

I was not allowed by the system to show them the free version alongside it and let them make their own decision. 

Karen: And so, Liz, how has it been working? You mentioned that you’re one of the few, if not only, instructors telling your students, “Please don’t buy the textbook.” What has the response been or how does that go over?

Liz: People have said they like the unconventionalness of the textbook and they particularly appreciate not having to buy it. I also don’t use the entire textbook, so I especially wouldn’t want students to buy the whole thing. I use select chapters out of this. I use about four chapters, and so response has been good. 

Karen: Great. 

Zoe: I’ll also chime in and highlight that Ed Beck shared some of the copy that they used with their bookstore, who are very accommodating, to create two entries to show that there is an OER free digital access from teacher or you can purchase the printed copy below. So, if anyone’s interested in how to frame that if you do have that capacity to do so with your bookstore, there’s some sample copy there that you can maybe look at. 

Caitlin: And to clarify, I think our bookstore could say that you’re using an OER but not what the OER was. And so, that could be problematic, it could point you to your professor, but it was very vague. 

Karen: Thanks for chiming in. There’s a lot of expertise I know, out there, so please do chime in and share your own experiences as well. I’m just trying to capture the questions in the chat, but that doesn’t mean we need to go strictly in order here. But that said, third question from the chat (laughs) which came from Wilhelmina, she was asking for bank accounts to allow print-on-demand through Amazon, what are the risks? 

Just that a purchase made through that account to deduct from the bank account. And I think this was Liz, you were commenting on how difficult it is to get a bank account from an institution, is that right? 

Liz: Yes. I think that the issues they had with that were twofold. One was just giving it to some random staff member elsewhere at the university who didn’t even work in the finance department. The second would be the data security of storing that in some other third-party place, where it’s just accessible. But all Amazon wanted for, the only reason they wanted it was to deposit any royalties that might actually come in from the book. 

Wilhelmina: Well, I guess I had wondered why not your own? Because I used to find in the dumpster at the end of the semester all of the textbooks and sell them and I’d make like $8,000 a year (laughter) because of the lease turnover rate. And I never had really a problem with it in my bank account end, but I guess it’s just a personal preference. 

Liz: Yeah, I wouldn’t have wanted to do that with my personal bank account on behalf of a university. I would have felt uncomfortable with that, but I guess depending on your relationship. 

Wilhelmina: Yeah, it seems like they would do something where it’s just a very limited account. They would have something like that, just for someone on campus just to do weird billing things. But who knows? It’s the only place where you get a purchase order for $20. 

Karen: Yeah, the financial things always seem to get bizarro. Sybil has a question for Jonathan. She says, “We created one of our OERs in Adobe InDesign, how much accessibility is built into the program and how can we easily share it with others so they can edit it?” 

Jonathan: Yeah, Adobe InDesign is a great example of software that is easy to jump into and difficult to master. It’s massive because it’s designed for all sorts of media production, whether it’s digital or print. And so, there are the resources embedded in there that you can embed alt tags and metadata and everything that would be needed for digital publishing in terms of screen readers. 

But then, it really comes down to how are you exporting these digital files? Are you using a PDF that’s optimized for digital, which has some accessibility considerations? Are you using—? What I would recommend, and I think this is part of your question as well, I’d recommend EPUB, exporting EPUB that way it can be imported into platforms like Pressbooks and others and rendered more easily. 

Because if you’re looking for other people to adopt your textbook, I think one thing that I know I’ve hit up against at my own institution, we have Pressbooks at Boise State and faculty are wanting to use open textbooks that are published to a PDF. Finding ways to make that workflow economical and quick and intuitive, so that they can retain as much of that original design as possible, so they’re not having to basically reinvent the textbook with someone else’s content. 

That’s the preferred method, and so more native exports like EPUB, HTML and those sorts of things can be helpful. But the trouble is with Adobe, anything Adobe, and I’ve been an Adobe fanboy for a long time and I’m starting to have second thoughts, because I have a difficulty affording the subscription model that they have adhered to. And they’re a platform that they keep iterating on the fly, it’s part of the value of the subscription. 

Also, the detriment, because if I don’t log in for two months, it could be that icons have changed, locations have changed, and I have to basically relearn the software every time. And so, those are cases where, especially if at your institution you have students who are working in say a graphic design major or they have access to these tools, they’re really great people to bring in and to try and figure how to support your work in say Adobe InDesign because it can be just such a beast to learn. 

Karen: Thanks, Jonathan. Another question from Sybil, and Sybil you asked if there’s any other site for hosting OER beyond Pressbooks and Wikibooks. And I’m not sure if you mean hosting or also publishing and hosting? In the Open Textbook Library there’s a lot of OER that is hosted at an institutional repository and then Amanda Larson suggested Manifold in the chat. 

And then, the Open Textbook Network is also in a new partnership with the Collaborative Knowledge Foundation, which has created Editoria, and we’re exploring Editoria and the capabilities with them. I’m not sure if there are other favorite tools out there or other things people would like to suggest or Sybil, if you want to clarify if you’re thinking primarily about publishing and or hosting or both? 

Sybil: Well, to be honest, (laughs) I’m going to have my students do a lot of OEP, so I’m going to host or at least situate my OER pieces, I have a couple of books within Google Docs. Which I know some people are going to roll their eyes, but it allows for my students not to have to sign up for anything, they can just go to Google and start playing around with that. They can copy a whole other document into their own drive and start playing with it. 

And then, I think from there I will download that as a PDF or what have you and put it on whatever site. Right now, I want to get started with it all, and I’m taking the Wikiversity class right now, the free one, about OEP. And they’re having us play around with Pressbooks and to be honest, it reminds me of Word Press, and Word Press doesn’t like me. And (laughs) I’ve had fights with it, I don’t know. Long story. 

So, I was just wondering if there’s other sites out there, because right now, I have this very strange system that I’m using where ISSUU, I don’t know if you guys know, ISSUU. I have my stuff on there but now you have to pay for a pro account to allow people to download. And it looks really pretty embedded into my LMS because it flips like a book, so I really liked how it’s embedded that way. 

So, now I have students go in there, but they can’t download from there, so I have rerouted them back to the Google Doc folder that’s public, so that they can download there if they need to. And it’s kind of a mess, but yet, I just don’t know. Pressbooks I’m sure is wonderful, I’m from a very small college, I don’t have a lot of my own money to just have an account with Pressbooks by myself. 

And I don’t really know if I’d get any money or support from my administration. I’m sure they would. But anyway, so I was just curious, I’m sure within like what? A couple of years, there’ll be so many sites out there that we can use and play around with, that it’ll be amazing. But I just thought I would ask this community, because I’m sure you’ve all seen more sites than I have. So, that’s my story. 

Karen: Thanks Sybil. You’re not alone, your story bears many similarities to other stories in terms of perhaps writing collabora—Help me out. Collaboratively. 

Zoe: Collaboratively. 

Karen: Yeah, thank you. 

Zoe: Collaborate on the word, Karen. 

Karen: (Laughter) In Google Docs and then moving to Pressbooks or another tool when you’re getting ready to share it. So, Sybil, this is I think very common and we’re all, many of us still I think searching for a tool where you can do it all. But that may not exist, I’m just going to go ahead and say that doesn’t exist. But Pressbooks as you’ve heard is a tool many people like to use and so I think we’re all trying to figure this out and find a better workflow for all of the reasons that you mentioned. 

I don’t know if anyone else wants to chime in? Okay, next up is Tara’s question, does anyone have a book machine and do their own printing on campus? I think Tara, you may be referring to an Espresso Machine, which I think are super cool, but I am in the printed book is romantic camp as well. Anyone out there?

Jonathan: If I can jump in real quick, and it’s something that I meant to mention as well, and give a shout to Amanda on. So, in Idaho, we also have a very rural state, arguably more so than New York. And so, the digital divide is alive and well and it’s something that we’re thinking a lot about because we only have a handful of higher ed institutions in the state. And so, right now, we do not have a press, it’s something that we’re in conversation about. 

Because we have a shared state board of education that oversees all K through 20 OER in Idaho. And they’d like to see OER become a major component of especially general education courses. That said, that’s where we’re partnering with or trying to partner with more statewide entities, like our commission for libraries that governs all public and academic libraries in the state because they seem like a more natural shepherd for that sort of centralized effort. But I’d love to know what other people are doing, if they have one. 

Karen: I’m going to take the quiet out there as perhaps people don’t yet have one or are looking into it. Okay, next. 

Zoe: And I don’t know if it’s with an Espresso Book Machine, but I know eCampusOntario has recently partnered with one of the institutions in Ontario to do their printing. We think Guelph and we’ll follow up on that, and I saw just recently they shared a video of the books being made as they were watching, which is very cool to see. Again, I don’t know if it’s the same kind of machine. 

But I think more and more these kinds of models are starting to emerge of how to access that because as Amanda and Jonathan have both said, it’s incredibly important to have this available as one of the many options for students to access content. 

Karen: If you want to see one and you’re in New York City, which is the place where I’ve seen an Espresso Machine, they have one at McNally Jackson bookstore. And you can print your book on it, if you so desire. It’s kind of fun to watch, you can see all the mechanics happening. Billy had a question if the speakers would be willing to share the tools they use to design covers? I think we’ve heard people have used the built in Pressbooks tool. 

Jonathan talked a little bit about using InDesign. Are there other tools out there that people are using to design covers? Canva, I have been playing with Canva lately as well, Matt, but I hadn’t thought about it for a book cover. How did it work for you?

Matthew: It worked great, actually. I was able to do a draft version on my phone in like five minutes. They have a pretty easy template, I wasn’t trying to do anything complicated with it, so they had a free template I could play with. And then, I ended up fussing with it a little bit on my computer, but yeah, worked out great. 

Karen: Great. I see some other people in the chat are also fans. And then, some LaTeX cover makers. How did that work? Jonathan? 

Jonathan: Real quick, I have a question for Matt. The cover that you were designing in Canva, Matt, was that specifically for a digital cover, or were you going to print it as well?

Matthew: So, it was mostly designed for digital, although we did use it on the front page of the printed text. The printed text looks serviceable, so it wasn’t something that we were trying to design I’m just going to say well. (Laughs)

Jonathan: So, two things to consider out there and it’s something, a project I’ve had going passably on my Twitter feed in the last few months is trying to find open source or low-cost single purchase alternatives to some of these creative cloud software. And one of the perks of InDesign is that it renders font and other graphical images that aren’t photos in a what they call vector. 

And so, that means that you resize, you can scale, you can change things around and it’s not going to become pixelated when you go to print. And the importance of that is you don’t want jaggies on your nice printed book. Same thing happens in digital though. The other thing that’s nice about the platform like InDesign that as far as I know, and I could be wrong because I haven’t done much with Canva. 

But when it comes to printing, and you want bleeds, so you want the image running from edge to edge across a cover, you want to have a spine maybe. You want to have a nice, printed book. You need to really be able to change a lot of the orientation and also vector in these bleeds and crop marks for the printer. 

Zoe: Yeah. Sorry, what was that Karen?

Karen: I was just saying really excellent points, please go ahead. 

Zoe: Yeah, again, to print covers specifically there are as Jonathan has said so many more things to consider, how we’ve approached it and Apurva might want to chime in on this as well is we often have used InDesign to create the front cover and then used the Pressbooks cover generator to make sure the measurements and everything are correct in order to go forward with it, and that has worked well. 

The color profile is really important to consider as well, between digital and print. And yeah, so right now, I think it’s a combination of tools that are working for us as we’re doing our own printing. The Pressbooks cover generator is really, really handy because it does or made a lot of that figuring out if you have X number of pages, you need your spine to be this width, kind of thing. 

There are also I think the various print-on-demand suppliers give you the formula to work out what you need for yours. And Matthew, I see your question there about a workflow going from InDesign to Pressbooks. Yeah, it’s just export the image out of InDesign and upload it as the background cover image on the Pressbooks cover generator. That’s nice and simple. 

Karen: Apurva? Go ahead, Zoe, I thought you were finished. 

Zoe: And just another question I see there, Pressbooks resolution requirement and a DPI, I believe so, yes. There are probably others. 

Apurva: There’s a dimension requirement, so the pixel sizes are specified but DPI is standard for whatever you would use for web. So, 72 to 90. 

Zoe: Hopefully there’s some Pressbooks documentation somewhere out there that will give a bit more. 

Karen: Thanks, Apurva. And then, Jonathan and Charity, I think you were chiming in on book covers. Did you guys have anything you wanted to add? Okay. Let’s see, Matt has a related question if there are resources for faculty authors who do not have OER textbook designers at their school and need to make great Pressbooks HTML and make a good-looking print edition. 

So, Matt, we’ve been talking about tools, maybe you’re also thinking about people to turn to? Or would you like to say anything more on this question? Or if we’ve covered it or kind of a different angle on it?

Matthew: I think the chat covered it, but I think the idea was basically I have issues with image sizes, mostly. And the workflow for that is a little— okay, it’s messy, it’s basically fixing one thing, breaking three other things and then trying to fix every other thing. Yeah, (laughs) and I only knew that because I talked with a designer. So, I’m just wondering if anybody had any good ways of doing that stuff on their own, without a designer. 

Karen: Designers can be really important and helpful. I think it’s a hard thing to work around if you don’t have that expertise, both in terms of using tools and in terms of that design education. Go ahead. 

Jonathan: I would also say that designers can be notoriously stubborn and difficult to work with, they are creatives after all. And I know that I’m talking about myself (laughs) not unironically. That said, so case in point, this cover project I’ve been doing with Apurva and Christina, I think there were probably 15 or 16 different iterations for us to come back around to one of the original designs and just modify off of that. 

And I’ve worked with a lot of designers where they’d be done after two or three, and they would just dig their heels in and say, “Listen, I’m the designer and you’re not, this is what you need to do.” And so, it’s not only just finding a designer, but it’s also vetting them and seeing if you can actually work with them. And ultimately, designers can be very expensive, I was doing this for free because I enjoyed the creative application while I was trying to wrap up my PhD. 

So, what I would say, and what’s worked for me in the past is I’ve done a lot of other sorts of publications that have gone to print, whether they were reports or general publications to promote an office at the universities I’ve worked for. And in those projects, I can’t design it all, that’s not my full-time job is just producing all those books, and it easily could be. 

And so that’s where I would go out to communications departments, to graphic communications departments, to art departments and see what kind of student talent they had available to partner with. To me, it was always much more justifiable for my department to justify giving students some stipends or hiring them on student employees to help them participate in the process. 

And again, the other thing I’d recommend is put out an open call on social media, the open education community is really active and really charitable. 

Liz: I just wanted to add one thing to that, too. When you’re working with a designer, one of the things that I think is important when making all these open textbooks is is the design for the cover open and how much more might that cost you to have them license it in that way? Because suddenly then if someone wants to make copies of this book, they’re going to have to create their whole new cover if that’s not the case. 

Karen: I’d also like to note as someone who worked for many years with designers that it is one of the professions that is aggressively being de-professionalized and it’s difficult to be a designer because most of us have opinions on visual design and would like to weigh in on the particular shade of green or that particular type. And so, that’s why many designers will limit it to three rounds of revisions, otherwise you might be going on for a long time. 

So, that’s probably another topic we could talk about is just how to work with different professionals on the book production process. I’m mindful that we have a few minutes remaining, and so I think we’ve covered covers. And I’m going to move onto Jonas’ question, he asked does anyone use MBS as their online bookstore? If yes, have they supported open textbook workflows and or print-on-demand? Is there anyone out there? I don’t know what MBS stands for. 

Jonas: Sorry, I don’t even know what MBS stands for (laughter) but I’m sure I could find out. I don’t know, we don’t have a physical bookstore, we just have an online bookstore. I guess it’s MBS Direct and it still doesn’t tell me what MBS stands for, when I go to their website. 

Karen: That’s the world we live in, the world of unknown acronyms. It looks like Amanda at Penn State has MBS Direct for world campus. Amanda, do you want to say anything about how that’s working? Or do you have experience with them?

Amanda: I haven’t had experience with them with OER or print-on-demand, but we do have an ebook licensing program that we’re using to replace expensive textbooks with, that is run by my colleague Tori (Victoria) Raish. And they’ve been really good to her to work on that, so I would imagine that that might also translate into OER print-on-demand. (Alarm)

Jonas: Okay, thank you. 

Karen: Woah (laughter). 

Jonas: The time is up. 

Karen: Yeah, I’m glad you fit in your comment, Amanda, I hope everything’s okay there, fire alarm testing, okay great. This is only a test. All right, Jonas, I hope that’s helpful, there’s a contact or two out there for you. Jonathan Poritz had a question he says, “I’m curious about motivation. One speaker said print books were to convince old fuddy-duddies to try OER. 

It was also mentioned the benefit of holding a book in your hand, portability, highlighting, other things students might like. These both sound reasonable, but do we have any numbers to know if they happen in the real world?” For example, he offered his OER through Lulu at about $7 and no one bought it. So, we have been talking a lot about how important print is, are there people out there? Amanda, I see you unmuting you can comment on the actual popularity of the print version. 

Amanda: So, I wish that we had more numbers. I think that the data collecting is a really big hurdle that we have to jump over with this work right now, because there are so many other balls up in the air. But a lot of what our experience is in anecdotal data, and as far as your experience with people maybe not buying or the popularity not being as high as you would hope when we talk about all these anecdotal needs for print, I would just say that a lot of it starts at a conversation with the students. 

And sometimes students aren’t sure what they’re going to need on the way in. And continuing to talk to them about what is going to work best for their situation that maybe they’re just discovering while they’re going through college depending on what their background is, depending on what their home life learning environment is. It’s important to continue to assess what they might need. 

Both in the classroom and something that people need to just consistently think about so that students don’t feel like they’re trapped with one method at any point in the semester or any point in their learning experience. But the other thing I do want to say is that it’s hard to think about this in terms of profit, when we talk about profit this almost seems like it doesn’t, what’s the point? 

But just because I think that the beauty of this movement is that even if there’s not a really competitive market demand for these kinds of resources, it doesn’t mean that the students who do need it are any less important or that their needs are any less important. And I feel very fortunate that SUNY is in the position where we’re able to make that a priority, because we already have resources that are allocated to that. 

And I understand that a lot of other schools have much steeper challenges to overcome in order to get to that point. But we, at this point, are just going to continue offering what we can to whatever population needs it, however many of them there are. I hope that helps a little bit, at least coming from the SUNY perspective. 

Karen: Yeah, thank you, Amanda, great points. 

Zoe: Yeah, I think that’s an excellent point, Amanda. And it’s something I think for all of us to keep in mind, that a lot of this conversation has been about tools is quite telling. And I think we should all be considering more and more ways to make what can be a really big task, it’s a full-time position for somebody at SUNY having this working. And we need to be thinking about ways that we can scale that up and down as needed so this does remain as an option for students. 

It’s the many pathways idea that they should always have choice and as you say, Amanda, we’re in a position where we can offer that, where we can think about that as the value. And not necessarily how much money we want to make off the books. 

Karen: Okay, four minutes remaining, I think we can have one more question. But I also want to highlight a comment Amy Hofer, I don’t know if she’s still on the call, made about using Lulu for print-on-demand. She’s had good luck with them, and with no ISBN on the book, you can set the price, excuse me, the revenue to zero, which means students can purchase individual copies at cost plus shipping. 

Or bookstores can make a bulk purchase at discount, which gives some room for their overhead. On the downside, she said in the chat I haven’t been able to find out any information about the company, so she’s not totally sure who they are or where the books are coming from, why it’s so cheap. For example, maybe they have crummy labor practices. So, I know Amy’s been trying to get at their story for a while. 

So, if anyone out there has the scoop on Lulu, she’d love to hear it, we’d probably all love to hear it. So, as our last question, Charity asked if anyone has experience using course packet publishers for OER. I assume you’re thinking for the textbook form, is that anything anyone has tried out there?

Matthew: Yeah, I can unmute, so I’ve used XanEdu, that is the vendor that my bookstore and my campus uses for course packages. Overall, my experience was okay. I think one of the challenges with that is that our bookstore wants us to use them because they include the cost of buying back unsold editions into the price that students pay. So, if the bookstore orders 15 and they only sell five, XanEdu will buy back the other 10. 

But they build that cost into the OER, which inflates the cost. So, after that, it was about $50 for an OER textbook, which is too expensive for my taste. So, I went with a different print vendor and I think the challenge is I am not actually allowed to tell students about it because that would be against my university’s policies, because we have to point people to the person who we’re contracted with. 

Karen: All right, thank you, Matt for sharing that. (Laughter)

Matthew: Sorry. 

Karen: The complexities right, are always more than I think we expect going into any of these questions. So, we’re at the end of our hour, and before we depart, I would like to thank our guests, Amanda Wentworth, Elizabeth Mays, and Jonathan Lashley for sharing their experience and expertise. And same to all of you for attending and asking your questions and sharing your experience in the chat. 

It’s always great to just get this group together and start uncovering the different questions and strategies that people are using to move OER forward on their campuses. Before we go, I will tell you we’re taking July off, as many of you probably are. We started planning a July session, and ran into a lot of calendar trouble. So, our next Office Hours will be in August. And we will I think be able to slip the sign up or details into the chat. 

Thank you, Apurva. We’re going to be talking about very specific adaptations, we hope to have guests who’ve adapted open textbooks into another language for an entirely new audience and context and just hear the specifics about their workflows. So, that is our plan for August, thank you again for joining us. Thanks to Rebus Community for co-hosting Office Hours with Open Textbook Network. And thanks to all of you for working in open ed. 

Zoe: Absolutely. I’ll add my thanks to all of our guests and everybody else who’s contributed today. It’s been really wonderful. We’ll see you all in August, don’t forget you can keep up to date with what’s going on with both of us on Twitter. So, we’re @RebusCommunity and OTN is @Open_textbooks and hopefully some links coming in fast for that too. 

And also, just a brief reminder if anybody’s working on projects and is interested in getting out a call for participation, to have some collaborators join you, you can send us a note through the contributor marketplace and we can get that into our newsletter and Twitter to boost your reach, if that’s a point you’re at with projects. We’re really excited to see a few of those going out recently. 

And yeah, great to see more of you getting involved and continuing these great conversations that we have every month. Thank you so much. 

Karen: Thanks everyone. Bye.

Chat Transcript

00:23:46 Ed Beck: SUNY Albany!
00:25:08 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: Are those charges per title offered for sale via POD platform, not per-purchase?  
00:27:27 Apurva Ashok: Jonas, I think it varies - but I’ll wait for our speakers to answer your question (either here in the chat, or during the discussion starting soon).
00:27:51 cgermano: That's awesome students involved in the process!
00:28:03 Apurva Ashok: Shoutout to Ryan Hersha & Allison Brown for taking the lead on the Open Frankenstein book!
00:28:33 Zoe Wake Hyde: She’s a busy lady!!
00:28:45 Terry Williams: Go Sun Devils!
00:29:30 Amanda Wentworth: Ed is right; that book I showed that was written by a faculty member was from SUNY Albany!
00:31:26 Justin White: That issue of Follett is disappointing. You want it to be easy for students to get the print version if they want it but don't want to cause confusion
00:31:28 Alexis Clifton: With the Albany faculty member’s dog on the cover
00:32:09 Zoe Wake Hyde: I thought I spied a dog on that cover! Love it 😀
00:32:20 Caitlin Balgeman: My understanding was that you can have Follett say that you're using an open textbook on their website. Do they just not allow links?
00:32:51 Ed Beck: Our bookstore was very accomodating. They create two entries like the example below:
00:32:57 Ed Beck: OER / FREE DIGITAL ACCESS FROM TEACHER OR PURCHASE PRINTED COPY BELOW Required

REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF MAMMALS: FROM FARM TO FIELD AND BEYOND Optional
00:33:26 Steel Wagstaff: REPRODUCTIVE PHYSIOLOGY OF MAMMALS: FROM FARM TO FIELD AND BEYOND is a title that deserves to be in all caps. Just saying ...
00:33:42 Alexis Clifton: Lol Steel
00:33:51 Sybil: ^^ Very cool, Ed. I might talk to our bookstore about doing that.
00:34:08 Justin White: I don't think you can have it as a searchable item in Follett, cause Texas requires you to provide a list of courses that are OER and we're still discussing how to comply with that requirement
00:34:18 Wilhelmina Randtke: For bank account to allow print on demand through Amazon, what are the risks?  Just that a purchase made through that account could deduct from the bank account?
00:34:20 Justin White: I might be confusing that with our course catalog limitations
00:36:09 Charity Davenport: I'm working on a Master's in Instructional Technology and Design! 
00:36:23 Sybil: When we surveyed our students at NDSCS, half wanted print - half digital. I was a bit shocked.
00:36:24 Elizabeth Mays: Wilhelmina, it was actually so Amazon could deposit royalties. And report those to the IRS, presmably.
00:36:31 Dylan W.: What is more impressive: Lashley's deer shirt or his use of the word 'behooves.' 
00:36:34 Elizabeth Mays: The issue was probably one of data security though.
00:37:48 Elizabeth Mays: Caitlin, it may be possible this has changed—the experience I mentioned was a year ago. And their experience may vary. For me the issue was I could say it was an open textbook, but you had to include the ISBN. The free digital online version didn’t have an ISBN of its own, so the print version was all that would display in this instance.
00:38:29 Elizabeth Mays: So the end effect was “here’s an open textbook. it’s $55 to buy.” with no other option, and no there was no way to “link” to the digital version on the web in my case
00:38:29 Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa: https://www.rebus.community/c/open-textbooks-in-development/phil-introduction-to-philosophy
00:38:39 Charity Davenport: I agree--I could NOT find any book creators that had a good visual layout. I eventually learned LaTeX to make it by myself
00:38:47 Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa: See above link to Intro to Phil that Jonathan mentioned
00:39:06 Zoe Wake Hyde: Oh wow, Charity - that’s no easy feat!
00:39:42 Karen Lauritsen: Some book cover inspiration: http://chipkidd.com/home/portfolio-3/
00:39:50 Ed Beck: @Charity And gives me nightmares that my faculty will find your book and love it, but want to make changes.
00:40:00 Caitlin Balgeman: Thanks, Elizabeth, that helps clarify things. Maybe they are able to say that the course uses an OER but can't include what it is without an ISBN. When I've talked to our Follett bookstore they've said they needed an ISBN.
00:40:28 Charity Davenport: fortunately LaTeX software is also open and I can always update the PDF version
00:40:57 Charity Davenport: but yes, my book is also in Pressbooks so I have to update and change 2 versions  🙁
00:41:08 Steel Wagstaff: See also: https://www.nypl.org/blog/2014/09/03/generative-ebook-covers + http://recoveringtheclassics.com/ for book cover ideas 
00:41:27 Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa: +1 to Steel!
00:41:39 Sybil: Q for Jonathon whenever: We created one of our OERs in Adobe InDesign - How much accessibility is built into that program AND how can we easily share it with others so they can edit it?
00:42:42 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: Thanks
00:42:52 Elizabeth Mays: There is often a charge to replace a file.
00:43:00 Amanda Wentworth: Right^
00:43:09 rsaunders: SUU Press has used Lightning Source for its products.  There is a $75 charge per contents upload and a similar charge for covers.  Uploading new files for any reason (other than not accepting the digital proof) incurs another charge.
00:43:18 Sybil: Q overall: Is there any other site for hosting OER beyond Pressbooks & Wikibooks?
00:43:48 Amanda Larson: Manifold 
00:43:48 Tara Cataldo: Does anyone have a book machine and does their own printing on campus?
00:44:05 Steel Wagstaff: Here's Pressbooks VPAT (accessibility statement about our authoring platform): https://pressbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/VPAT2.3WCAG-Pressbooks-May-2019.pdf and here's a guide (published with Pressbooks) to help authors better understand how to ensure their content is accessible: https://opentextbc.ca/accessibilitytoolkit/
00:44:06 Sybil: Our copy center does binding for us. We
00:44:12 rsaunders: Tara-- an Espresso machine.  Marriott Library at Univ. of Utah does.
00:44:23 Sybil: print on demand - we’re a tiny campus, however (3k).
00:44:57 Amy Hofer: Interesting about ISBNs and Follett. The only way to set up POD at Lulu with $0 revenue is to not have an ISBN. Which would make it impossible to adopt via Follett!
00:45:03 Michael Daly: Bookstores have to follow (at least) 20 U.S. Code § 1015b. Textbook information
00:46:07 Billy Meinke-Lau: Would the speakers be willing to share the tools they use to design covers? GIMP, Adobe CC, etc.
00:46:13 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: Does anyone use MBS as their online bookstore?  If yes, have they supported open textbook workflows and/or print-on-demand?
00:47:07 Steel Wagstaff: One option we were exploring at UW-Madison before I left the institution was to charge students a modest materials fee ($10 per student) and for the program to purchase the print on demand copies directly at cost and distribute them to students.
00:47:09 Charity Davenport: @Sybil I have heard of Gitbooks and Scalar but never used them before
00:47:44 Billy Meinke-Lau: Some universities have policies that limit faculty/staff ability to collect money from students (in case you wish to produce and print/stock yourself).
00:48:37 Kaylynn Mortensen: @Tara: We are using our printing center on campus and will sell through the bookstore (will also shrinkwrap book). I'm struggling accepting  the overhead percentage from the bookstore.
00:48:42 Steel Wagstaff: The university's bursar rules stipulated that materials fees could only be used for 'materials' that students could own/use after the term ended (or something like that). A print book qualified, apparently. The course materials fee had the added benefit of being charged directly along with tuition.
00:48:42 Matthew DeCarlo: Are there any resources for faculty authors who do not have OER textbook designers at their school and need to take a great Pressbooks HTML and make it a good-looking print edition?
00:48:49 Sybil: epub. Got it. My colleague is the Adobe InDesign expert, but we’ve talked about how to export. Thank you.
00:49:22 rsaunders: Many public instittuions have a statutory prohibition about open two-way accounts like Amazon.  The reason is for hard and transparent audit trails.
00:49:25 Charity Davenport: I have had so many issues with Pressbooks making a good PDF version. It makes all my images so wonky. That's why I stuck with LaTeX for my PDF version. 
00:49:29 Jonathan Poritz: I'm curious about motivation: one speaker said print books were to convince old fuddy-duddies to try OER; it was also mentioned the benefit of holding a book in your hand, portabilities, highlighting, other things students might like.  These both sound reasonable, but do we have any numbers to know if they happen in the real world?  E.g. I offered my OER through lulu about  about $7!) but no one ever bought it!
00:49:35 Steel Wagstaff: Matt--there are a number of PDF options that should help you customize your print export in pressbooks without having to know much complicated design info: https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/pdf-export-options/
00:49:47 Elizabeth Mays: Pressbooks has a cover generator as well!
00:49:58 Matthew DeCarlo: my challenge is around widows and orphans and image cutoffs
00:50:04 Ed Beck: @Jonathan, I don’t think she used the words buddy-duddies….
00:50:13 Tina Ulrich: Yes!  Small community colleges can't afford Adobe subscriptions.  PDF OER exclude many users.
00:50:16 Charity Davenport: @Matthew yesssss me too! It's awful
00:50:24 Steel Wagstaff: there are widow/orphan options, but image cutoffs are trickier for sure
00:50:40 Matthew DeCarlo: I see. Thanks steel!!
00:50:47 Jonathan Lashley: @ Ed Beck: ?
00:51:05 Steel Wagstaff: we're very open to better ideas/suggestions/pull requests if you have them!
00:51:16 Ed Beck: Sorry @Jonathon Poritz
00:51:25 Jonathan Lashley: @ Ed: Oh, other Jonathan 😉
00:52:42 Charity Davenport: I can't put a link to my PDF version in my Pressbooks 🙁
00:52:54 Steel Wagstaff: why not?
00:52:58 Steel Wagstaff: @charity
00:53:05 Charity Davenport: I don't have PressbooksEDU
00:53:12 Matthew DeCarlo: i’m assuming it’s a chicken/egg thing with pressbooks.com
00:53:25 Steel Wagstaff: but you should still be able to put a link to a pdf in the book or book description, no?
00:53:27 Elizabeth Mays: You can still download the PDF though and share it with students by uploading to your LMS
00:53:41 Charity Davenport: I put a link in the "BUY NOW" option lol
00:53:43 Alexis Clifton: @Jonathan P: of the books SUNY’s done, purchase rates are low when not required by a professor. Less than 25% purchase print…Amanda can definitely speak more to this
00:53:47 Steel Wagstaff: ha!
00:53:52 Vicky - Clinton: l'm a bit late with this topic, but we use Follett on our campus and this is the message our OER classes have on the Follett site. "Free "Open Educational Resources" are required for this course. Please see your Instructor."
00:53:54 Tina Ulrich: But you can't edit it.
00:54:15 Tara Cataldo: Yes, 
00:54:39 Charity Davenport: Does anyone have any experience about using course packet publishers for OER?
00:54:45 Billy Meinke-Lau: I looked at sharing the cost of an Espresso machine for POD locally, and the rental and maintenance costs were too great.
00:54:46 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: Does anyone have one of these?  Short Edition https://short-edition.com/en/
00:55:04 Amy Hofer: I’ve got to go in a few minutes but wanted to chime in to say that I’ve had pretty good success using Lulu for POD. If you set up your books to sell only on Lulu marketplace and with no ISBN, you can set revenue to $0. This means students can purchase individual copies at cost plus shipping, or bookstores can make a bulk purchase at a discount which should give some room for their regular overhead. On the downside, I haven’t been able to find out any info about the company - like, why are they so cheap? Do they have crummy labor practices? If anyone has info on them I’d love to talk sometime.
00:55:09 Jonathan Poritz: Sorry, I've never heard of this Espresso machine before ... does it make good coffee?
00:55:21 Apurva Ashok: FYI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_Book_Machine
00:55:36 Ed Beck: We’ve considering doing print on demand on campus at the beginning of the semester, but it’s tough because that’s their busiest time of the year too. We end up guessing how many we need, and the bookstore ends up eating overages.
00:55:45 Charity Davenport: lol @Jonathan
00:55:59 Terry Williams: I believe it is Western University in London, Ontario
00:56:15 Zoe Wake Hyde: Thanks Terry
00:56:19 Sybil: ^^^ Ditto, Ed. Plus, our students can’t use financial aid on book unless it’s at the bookstore SO THAT ADDS more complexity.
00:56:21 Steel Wagstaff: Amy, Lulu was founded by Bob Young, best known for founding Red Hat (a very successful open source software company). He also founded the Center for the Public Domain. I like & respect him a lot
00:56:36 Matthew DeCarlo: I used Canva!
00:56:40 Ed Beck: We would still use the bookstore Sybil
00:56:40 Charity Davenport: yes!
00:56:43 Matthew DeCarlo: omg, so easy!
00:56:52 Charity Davenport: I made my cover in Canva and I have it here if anyone wants to see
00:56:54 Jonathan Poritz: LaTeX FTW!
00:56:54 Steel Wagstaff: I think Amanda Larson has done stuff with Canvas too!
00:57:00 Amanda Larson: I second Canva! 
00:57:03 Apurva Ashok: I know an author who has used the in-built cover design tool in Lulu!
00:57:08 Sybil: We made our book covers in Piktochart.
00:57:13 Amy Hofer: Thanks Steel! Looking forward to talking more about this.
00:57:19 Elizabeth Mays: If you have a pro account there, Canvas will let you do a high-res cover too.
00:57:45 Charity Davenport: i made my in the free version and I think it works fine
00:57:46 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: I used Canva also but had to try a few different resolutions to look correctly.  Designed for digital but the cover wouldn't be accepted by Lulu as a cover
00:57:54 Amy Hofer: Thanks everyone, sorry to have to leave early! Hoping we’ll be able to continue talking about this important topic. 🙂
00:58:03 Zoe Wake Hyde: Thanks Amy! Bye!
00:58:16 Steel Wagstaff: Great website for finding alternatives to proprietary software: https://alternativeto.net/
00:58:17 Elizabeth Mays: What I do sometimes is use the pro account in Canva to do a high-res front cover at right size, then upload that into Pressbooks’ cover generator to get the POD-appropriate high res
00:58:45 Matthew DeCarlo: ooo
00:59:20 Steel Wagstaff: I haven't used it, but a leading OSS alternative to InDesign is called Scribus: https://alternativeto.net/software/scribus/
00:59:28 Matthew DeCarlo: Is there a workflow for that?  Going from indesign to Pressbooks?
00:59:49 Jonathan Lashley: @ Matthew: it’s a simple export
01:00:00 Matthew DeCarlo: isn’t there a resolution requirement for Pressbooks?
01:00:10 Matthew DeCarlo: A certain DPI?
01:00:17 Elizabeth Mays: There is a size requirement.
01:00:29 Matthew DeCarlo: cool thanks!
01:00:31 Billy Meinke-Lau: Lulu (and others) give you a document that shows the bleed markers, spine, etc. You can import this as a layer in GIMP/PS and place your layers over this.
01:00:32 Steel Wagstaff: there's a recommendation, but not a requirement i think
01:00:42 Elizabeth Mays: I’m not sure we enforce the DPI requirement. However, you’d want to use high-res when you upload in order to get the print-ready cover.
01:01:39 Charity Davenport: yess!!! that's is my life 🙁
01:02:11 Steel Wagstaff: moving from flowing design (HTML) to fixed design (PDF) is a tricky one. Pressbooks uses software called PrinceXML to help with this. It's good but imperfect. We'd love to improve how well we do this, so all suggestions welcomed.
01:02:16 Charity Davenport: it's why I had to give up on trying to work on a good PDF version from Pressbooks 🙁
01:03:24 Matthew DeCarlo: Being able to preview the print edition while editing would save a lot of steps
01:03:25 Zoe Wake Hyde: So everyone can see Jonathan’s excellent work, here’s one of the covers (digital version): https://press.rebus.community/app/uploads/sites/146/2019/05/Intro_to_Phil-Cover_DraftsV6-copy-Small-350x525.jpg
01:03:26 Steel Wagstaff: if folks are willing to work with CSS, there's a lot you can do on the layout of PDF exports in Pressbooks, but these are not skills that everyone has. i would suggest that its probably easier than learning LaTeX and producing PDFs there, but that's just my perspective (sorry Charity!)
01:03:59 Charity Davenport: I tried working with the CSS, but it's like Matthew said--I'd fix one thing and it would break another
01:04:00 Steel Wagstaff: There's a section in our guide (called testing your PDF) that offers some tips/tricks here: https://guide.pressbooks.com/chapter/pdf-export-options/
01:04:19 Charity Davenport: I think it's just there aren't so many OER that are so image heavy like mine is
01:04:59 Steel Wagstaff: using the XHTML preview was a HUGE timesaver for us at Wisconsin, because we didn't have to experiment and then wiat for the PDF export and then tweak again--you can make live changes in the browser (with the inspect tool) and have a good idea of what it'd look like in the PDF output
01:05:00 Charity Davenport: haha, now I'm good with LaTeX now 🙂
01:05:24 Charity Davenport: i did want to ask: Does anyone have any experience about using course packet publishers for OER?

01:05:25 Michael Daly: https://www.mbsdirect.net/
01:05:31 Amanda Larson: We have MBS Direct for World Campus 
01:05:40 Matthew DeCarlo: Yeah, I used Xanedu
01:05:42 Jonas Lamb | UAS Egan Library: https://www.mbsdirect.net/
01:05:44 cgermano: They are a division of Pearson
01:05:51 Matthew DeCarlo: they were okay…but too expensive and unwilling to reduce price
01:05:58 Michael Daly: Multiple Buying Services - MBS
01:06:07 Apurva Ashok: Thanks Michael
01:06:23 Amanda Larson: fire alarm testing
01:06:35 Amanda Larson: 13 in the past 30 minutes!
01:06:37 Steel Wagstaff: that advice was on fire amanda
01:06:45 Amanda Larson: thanks buddy!
01:07:27 Charity Davenport: I teach international students and they tend to favor physical copies but also like having access to an online version
01:07:35 Jonathan Lashley: @Steel, your goofs are on fire
01:07:44 Billy Meinke-Lau: MBS = Missouri Book Services (now owned by Barnes and Noble) https://www.mbsbooks.com/about/heritage.php
01:07:48 Sybil: As I mentioned, it was 50/50 on my small campus. I’ve heard others in the midwest who I’ve talked to say the same.
01:09:38 cgermano: Nice point Amanda
01:10:14 Jonathan Poritz: yes, really good perspective Amanda, thanks!
01:10:17 Sybil: Give choice to students. Yes.
01:10:25 Billy Meinke-Lau: Someone should offer an OER textbook design certificate 😉
01:11:10 Matthew DeCarlo: I used printme1.  Had a good experience
01:11:19 Jonathan Lashley: Lol, @Billy. I’ll make you a badge but can’t guarantee anyone will care
01:11:40 Steel Wagstaff: Strong recommend for this book/resources for web book designers: http://webtypography.net/intro/
01:11:40 Jonathan Lashley: #badges amiright?
01:11:51 Billy Meinke-Lau: Ha! A badge’s value is still in the eye of the beholder
01:12:13 rsaunders: Reality check--increased formats for students translate into increased costs to be absorbed by by institutions, which can jeopardize long-term administrative support for publishing.
01:12:58 Charity Davenport: yikes
01:13:23 Matthew DeCarlo: thanks so much, speakers!!!!!!!!
01:13:28 Jonathan Poritz: Thanks, interesting as always!
01:13:30 Amanda Larson: Thanks! 
01:13:30 Apurva Ashok: Thank you all so much - Jonathan, Amanda, Liz, and everyone who attended!
01:13:37 Jonathan Lashley: Thanks, all!
01:13:42 cgermano: Thank you all.
01:13:47 Tina Ulrich: Thank you so much, all!  Excellent information as always with office hours!
01:13:50 Amanda Wentworth: Thank you everyone! Great conversation!
01:13:56 Apurva Ashok: https://www.rebus.community/t/office-hours-adapting-oer-for-your-unique-context-15-august-2019-2pm-est-6pm-utc/1517
01:13:59 Charity Davenport: yes, this was great 🙂
01:14:02 Ilene Frank: Thanks for all the information! 
01:14:29 Alexis Clifton: Thanks everyone!!
01:14:38 Apurva Ashok: https://twitter.com/RebusCommunity
https://twitter.com/open_textbooks
01:14:57 Apurva Ashok: https://www.rebus.community/c/contributor-marketplace
01:14:58 Michelle Beechey: Thanks everyone!
01:15:14 Apurva Ashok: Thanks again everyone! 🙂 See you next time!
01:15:15 tricia.soto: All great information. Thanks for sharing everyone!
01:15:20 hristovar: Thank you!
01:15:20 Lindsey Gumb: Thanks!

Thanks to Mei Lin for preparing the audio transcript and video captions!


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