AcademicPub is adding a new service to its AcademicPub Custom College Plus, an automated coursepack service that allows faculty to create legal customized textbooks in digital or print formats from a database of licensed content. AcademicPub is now offering Off The Shelf, a new service that allows schools to integrate any of its standing content licensing agreements into the AcademicPub Custom College Plus Content Library.

The new service is seamless and invisible to users, said AcademicPub CEO Caroline Vanderlip in a phone interview with PW, emphasizing that Off The Shelf ensures that “students get the lowest price and that any institutional licenses are being passed through the Content Library offerings.” The new service essentially integrates any institutional library content arrangements into the Content Library, a database with more 8 million items of content that are used to create coursepacks using AP’s Custom College Plus. And while coursepacks have generally been supported primarily by the school bookstore, Vanderlip noted that the new service brings a school’s libraries more clearly and appropriately into the coursepack development process.

AcademicPub Custom College Plus is an online digital service that lets faculty members produce a digitally enhanced version of previously photocopied coursepacks, educational anthologies that in the past were compiled informally by faculty and copyshops usually without getting permission or providing recompense to copyright holders. The AcademicPub service lets professors choose from a wide variety of pre-licensed content to compile the coursepack and get copyright permissions, pay necessary fees and produce a cleanly designed customized anthology in e-book or POD print formats for purchase by students.

AcademicPub signs up publishers to add to their content (they offer content from 240 publishers) to its Content Library database and Vanderlip said that libraries also register at AP. Vanderlip said Off The Shelf recognizes that many institutions already have licensing agreements with many publishers for their content and there was the possibility of an institution being charged twice or inaccurately when faculty and students used the Content Library.

“We were asking faculty to make decisions about content without knowledge of any of the content agreements their institution may have through its libraries,” she said highlighting the key role that libraries should play in coursepack development. “We always saw libraries as partners in pulling together content for the faculty,” she said.