[Athen] Pearson Pushing VitalSource after ATN denial

George Kerscher kerscher at montana.com
Tue Jan 29 14:29:18 PST 2019


I reached out to folks at Pearson to get some clarification. Here is what I
was told:
Begin email from Pearson rep
if a student needs a PDF for accessibility purposes we will provide it.
We're not in the business of denying anyone access to what they need for
learning. As you are aware we've partnered with Vitalsource to provide
accessible ePubs to students and in most cases this does meet their needs.
When it doesn't, we ask why - not to "get in the way" but to try to
understand the needs of the student in question.

While we do ask for "Proof of purchase" it isn't to identify the students -
we are as concerned with privacy as anyone else. I'll look at the messaging
we use to see if we can do a better job communicating.

As to his two week wait. we have internal approval processes in place before
we let PDF's out the door. Those processes are in place to help insure that
we protect the IP rights of our authors. Sometimes this does slow things
down but we are currently active in trying to improve those processes and
reduce the time necessary to deliver the PDF's.

I hope that helps, please feel free to reach out with any questions.
End of email from Pearson rep.

I was also told if anybody would like to communicate directly, send me
(kerscher at montana.com <mailto:kerscher at montana.com> ) and I will forward the
request to my contact.


From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 10:55 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

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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