Textbook Selection Considerations

When selecting textbooks for Kennesaw State University courses, faculty should consider a number of factors. Obviously, pedagogical considerations come first. Examine the content, scope and sequence of topics, conceptual approach to the subject matter, quality of writing, implicit or explicit bias, and reviews by other faculty members across the country and abroad.

However, there are other concerns as well, such as the availability of alternate formats that are accessible for students with disabilities and more convenient for everyone. 

After completing a pedagogical evaluation, take the time to consider the following:

1.     Research the available formats for the book

  • Paper or soft binding
  • Hard bound
  • Electronic book (ebook)*
  • Other

*Find out about the ebook format. Is it ePUB or ePUB3? ePUB3 is the preferred format for electronic books. ePUB3 is far more accessible and interactive.

2.      Consider how much of the textbook is required. If less than 51% of the book is required for the course, consider another option.

3.      Consider selecting a textbook without bundled materials (protected web content, homework platforms like MyMathLab or McGraw-Hill Connect, DVDs, and/or practice workbooks). The cost of a textbook bundle will be higher than for the textbook itself. If a student is not required to use part of the bundle, he/she should not be required to buy it. Pieces should be available for purchase separately. Additionally, many of the bundled materials sold with textbooks are not accessible and the alternate materials provided by the textbook companies are also inaccessible.

4.      Determine the percentage of change before choosing a new edition (i.e. moving from a 3rd Edition to a 4th Edition). The publisher should be able to provide this percentage along with details of the changes. If the new edition has few changes, it may be more cost effective and less time consuming (updating other materials) to stay with the previously selected edition.

5.      For multiple sections of the same course, consider adopting one textbook for all sections.

6.      Consider alternative sources for course materials, including OERs. Learn more about OERs through the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative and scour the Georgia Knowledge Repository for scholarly content. Explore OpenStax and College Open Textbooks. Or, consider partnering with an instructional designer on campus to create your own OER through the Affordable Learning Georgia Grant Program.

If you have questions or would like assistance in reviewing a textbook or resource for accessibility, contact Digital Learning Innovations and one of our instructional designers or someone who deals specifically with academic web accessibility can help.  


Adapted from The College of Southern Maryland’s Checklist for Adopting Textbooks