Inside the Story: UVU instructors create textbook to save students money

Photo: KUTV/Mike Fessler

(KUTV) College textbooks can be pricey, but some marketing professors at Utah Valley University found a way to save students a few hundred bucks without sacrificing quality.

All you have to do is walk into UVU's book store to see just how expensive text books can be. There's one for $262 and another one for $178. And we caught up with one student having to buy a $114 textbook.

"Oh man I'm paying tuition. Shouldn't that be enough?" she asked. .

The sticker shock even causes some students to search elsewhere saying, "It was too expensive."

But thanks to a group of professors in the Woodbury School of Business at UVU, their business and marketing students' required textbook, "The Principles of Effective Written Communication" is just $23. Yes, $23.

UVU student Isaac Roundy said none of his books cost so little. It sure beats his other three books that total up to almost $400.

Now you understand why $23 is something to celebrate.

"It makes me want to buy the book and actually use it so I can be successful, rather than try and get by without the book," said Roundy.

The professors behind the publication are Duane Miller, Amy Bettridge, and Cherie Twyman. The three came together with the belief that it was time to give students a break.

"We just thought the cost of textbooks was getting way out of hand and we thought there would be a better way to service our students," said Miller.

But it was no easy task. It took a year of research and writing and editing to bring this to print.

"Editing is very time consuming and it's a lot of work," said Bettridge. "We've asked business professionals here at the University to give us feedback, people who are experts in the field give us feedback," she said.

How did they get the cost so low?

"We got rid of all the fluff and all the fanciness and just went with content that is going to be useful," Miller said.

According to the professors an average price of a Business or Marketing text book can run up to $200. Times the savings by the number of students going through their program and according to the department they are saving students a combined amount of about $250,000 dollars a year for offering the $23 textbook.

"That's amazing," said Miller. Twyman agreed, "Wonderful. I'm just delighted that students have a quality text at a price that they can pay."

And professors say the cost might be cut but not the material.

"They are getting an excellent quality book and an excellent education using these materials," said Twyman

So for now that's at least one textbook on the list of many student can actually afford.

"Just budget wise it made life a lot easier," said UVU student Zach Kidd.

The textbook is printed on campus so students are paying just for printing costs. The professors say they are not paid a dime for the books. But this isn't a one-time project; they plan to revise it every year to keep it up to date.