Profs go online to cut book costs

Melody Chiu
USC Daily Trojan

LOS ANGELES (U-WIRE) – A number of University of Southern California and Hebrew Union College professors have opted to use a private company instead of campus bookstores to provide course readers and textbooks for students.

Professors teaching 16 different USC courses and three Hebrew Union courses have begun ordering course readers through University Readers, a small, online company that binds select textbook materials into course readers and sells textbooks. Hebrew Union College history professor Sharon Gillerman is using University Readers for the first time in two of her courses this semester.

“It sounded like it was more efficient,” said Gillerman. “I could get [the materials] in two to three weeks before the semester, and I could just FedEx everything to them and they would Xerox it themselves.”

The custom publishing company, based in San Diego, was started about 15 years ago by Bassim Hamadeh, the company’s CEO. Hamadeh said his years of experience as a college student made him sensitive to the high prices of university course materials.

“Our goal is to save students money and make custom publishing an easy process for professors,” he said.

Hamadeh said his company has agreements with publishers that allow it to “reproduce content both in print and digitally at special rates.”

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Profs go online to cut book costs