Ann Arbor publisher announces new partnership to provide low-cost textbooks

Ann Arbor-based publisher XanEdu has partnered with Rice University nonprofit educational initiative OpenStax to be the exclusive printer of OpenStax's free digital textbooks.


OpenStax provides free digital textbooks with peer-reviewed content in a variety of subjects, primarily for higher education. These textbooks are available for download online or as an iBook or Kindle product.


However, many students still prefer physical textbooks. XanEdu's partnership with OpenStax will provide these textbooks at a discounted price compared to other hard-copy textbooks.


"The digital movement is not going at the pace that a lot of people expected it to go," XanEdu CEO John DeBoers says. "We offer both digital and print, but we still see a significant pickup of the print version of the books, so we think it's a relevant format."


XanEdu specializes in customizing textbooks to the instructor or class. The new partnership will allow OpenStax textbooks to be customized to course content or an instructor's authored works. While students still need to pay for a printed textbook, XanEdu provides a more affordable option for students. Textbooks average between $50-70, compared to other textbooks double or triple the price.


Both organizations hope to offer affordable textbooks in whatever format students prefer. Print textbooks will be available in most university bookstores as well as partnering retailers such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon.


DeBoers says choosing affordable textbooks is one of the best ways instructors or universities can drive down costs for students, and that the textbook business continues to expand low-cost options. He describes XanEdu's partnership with OpenStax as "one of the reasons" that textbook prices are going down even as the cost of education continues to rise.


Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at


Photo courtesy of XanEdu.