Victory! Aspen Lets Students Keep Their Casebooks

This morning, Aspen posted a statement to its website clarifying the Casebook Connect program. Aspen’s initial emails to professors implied that students would be required to “buy” casebooks they couldn’t keep after the semester, but today’s statement is completely clear that students will have a choice:

Students will have a choice as to which of these two options to purchase.

1) Through the traditional option, students can purchase any of the 11 titles as individual print casebooks, as they have in the past.

2) Through the Connected Casebook option, instead of purchasing only a print casebook, students can now receive:

  • A print casebook for the duration of the class term (to be returned by students at the conclusion of the term), and Access to our new CasebookConnect digital platform. Through this platform students will have:
    • A fully functional ebook version of the casebook, with note taking and highlighting capabilities, to which students will retain access after the class term has concluded
    • A digital study companion to the casebook, giving students opportunities to better understand difficult concepts and conduct self-assessments
    • An outlining tool that allows students to efficiently develop outlines based on their reading of the casebook

While we are very excited about the Connected Casebook program, and believe that this option provides greater value for students, the choice of which option to purchase remains entirely with each student.

This is great news; my thanks to Aspen for doing the right thing and publicly committing to give students this choice. As long as the price of the print version is reasonable, students will remain free to buy, sell, and lend their casebooks just as first sale has always allowed them to. The secondary market for used casebooks will remain. Aspen will try to compete with it the right way: by offering innovative products that are so useful to students that they willingly adopt them, instead.

Affordable casebooks and consumers’ rights are both still urgently important issues. But today, at least, they both won a round. Thanks to everyone who signed the petition and spoke up on the issue. Your voices made a strong statement on behalf of law students and the public, a statement that publishers heard loud and clear.