[Athen] Pearson Pushing VitalSource after ATN denial

Rovner, Amy arovner at shoreline.edu
Tue Jan 29 10:06:42 PST 2019

I met Pearson's Head of Accessibility last May at the IMS Global conference. If you would like to reach out to him, his contact info is Jonathan Thurston, jonathan.thurston at pearson.com<mailto:jonathan.thurston at pearson.com>. There isn't a phone number on his business card.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 9:55 AM
To: 'Access Technology Higher Education Network' <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Pearson Pushing VitalSource after ATN denial

Just to give you comfort, the same thing has happened to me six times so far. Three of those times, luckily the student fell in love with VitalSource. The other three times, I had to do the proof-of-purchase-big-argument-thing!

For me, the bigger problem is when a student's textbook is an ebook only, integrated with the LMS. Pearson's beginning to do that a lot now, and so is Cengage. If a student has a book I can scan, then it's much easier.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Sorensen, Neal B
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2019 1:55 PM
To: athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Athen] Pearson Pushing VitalSource after ATN denial

Hi All,

I'm writing to see if anyone else has encountered a problem like this with (our dear friend) Pearson. Here's the story. I made a request on AccessText Network for Microeconomics by Pindyck and Rubinfeld, and the request was denied. I received a follow-up e-mail at the same time saying the title is available on VitalSource, and the student could sent a proof-of-purchase directly to Pearson to get a free access code for their book. Now, I have NEVER had to provide a proof-of-purchase to get any book on AccessText Network. Their follow-up also suggested contacting the Pearson disability support office if the student is "using an assistive technology other than a screen reader." The request has been approved by their permissions and now I'm just waiting for the book.

This is unacceptable of Pearson. Thankfully the student has tried to use textbooks only accessible online before, and knows the PDF is better for his needs. I've been waiting almost two weeks now for this book (I got a customer satisfaction survey before I got the book). What is mildly infuriating about all this is that I know they have the book in PDF... I mean, it's on VitalSource so they have electronic versions! Why not just give me the PDF?

Additionally, why would I give Pearson the identity of my student? We are bound to confidentiality, and asking the student to identify themselves to the publisher is not necessary. This just goes to show that the major publishers will always try new ideas that don't make sense, and that it is important to push back against those ideas when we encounter them!

Neal Sorensen
Access Specialist
Accessibility Resources
Minnesota State University, Mankato
132 Memorial Library
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone: 507-389-5242
FAX: 507-389-1199
Email: neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu<mailto:neal.sorensen at mnsu.edu>

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