Foreword: Why We Created an Open Textbook

Dale Dulaney

This book was created for reasons quite different than most of the textbooks you have used so far in your academic career. What is the difference? Most of the books you have used so far are commercial books and textbooks, created by an author or company that sells the book to make a profit. The author or company protects its creation through an old legal principle called copyright. This system has worked well for many years! If it sells well, the author and publisher makes a profit. Profit or not, the author’s work will be protected from being used or sold without permission.

Unlike other books, and for various reasons, the cost of textbooks continues to rise at an incredible pace. These high costs present barriers to many students who need assigned class materials and are already struggling to pay tuition. In response to this reality, authors, through the help of a community of educators and not-for-profit publishers, are beginning to freely share their work in order to lower or eliminate the cost of class materials.

This book is one of those instances of sharing. It is free to you and anyone else who would like to use it. The key to this ability to freely use and re-use this material is something called Creative Commons. It is a license that the author places on his or her work that waives some of the protections of copyright and allows for the work to be shared and used in certain ways. To learn more about Creative Commons see this helpful video  (, transcript here). Thanks to Creative Commons, our faculty authors were able to draw from 12 other open textbooks to supplement their own writing and create a new, open textbook for ENG 111.

This book is made possible by the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA), the committed faculty of the English department, the staff of Brown Library, and the financial support of the Virginia Western Educational Foundation. Virginia’s community college system was created to provide greater access to education across the Commonwealth. This book was created in that same spirit.



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Foreword: Why We Created an Open Textbook Copyright © 2018 by Dale Dulaney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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