Custom Publishing

Commercial and free authoring tools are available for faculty to easily customize their course materials so that their students are only paying for the resources they will use in their course as well as tailor learning materials to their course curriculum.

  • Custom publishing services are available through commercial partners and each CSU campus provides a range of tools that help faculty author online course materials for their students.
  • Custom course Readers, materials, and textbooks. Faculty can include their own materials and/or works from third party sources including articles, sections of books, images, graphs, open educational resources, quizzes or anything you require to teach your course.  
    • Custom Course Readers, materials, and textbooks can be made available in print and/or digital format that allows for the inclusion of audio, video, and hyperlinks.

Check out the custom course readers, materials, and textbook possibilities:

Free/Open Publishing Tools



MERLOT Content Builder - a set of free, web-based tools that are designed for people just beginning to author online content. The MERLOT Content Builder can be used by any registered MERLOT member to create websites using templates for adding text, images, video, documents, links, and more. You can easily send a download your website as an IMS Common Cartridge, send a copy to a friend, add a Creative Commons license, and catalog your website in MERLOT so others can easily find it. The Content Builder can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.


open stax logo

OpenStax CNX is a dynamic non-profit digital ecosystem based at Rice University that serves millions of users per month in the delivery of educational content to improve learning outcomes.

There are tens of thousands of learning objects, called pages, that are organized into thousands of textbook-style books in a host of disciplines, all easily accessible online and downloadable to almost any device, anywhere, anytime. OpenStax CNX content also meets accessibility guidelines. Faculty can not only author and publish their content online at OpenStax CNX, but they can remix and reuse any content in the repository, including the OpenStax College library of peer-reviewed textbooks for introductory courses. All content on OpenStax CNX is free and cc-by licensed, thanks to generous support from Rice and several philanthropic organizations.


LibreTexts logo

LibreTexts project, which is a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access texts to improve postsecondary education at all levels of higher learning. The LibreTexts approach is highly collaborative where an Open Access textbook environment is under constant revision by students, faculty, and outside experts to supplant conventional paper-based books. The LibreTexts project is currently directed by UC Davis Professor and project Founder Delmar Larsen.


Commercial Publishing Tools


Soft Chalk cloud logo

SoftChalk Cloud is an easy to use yet powerful authoring tool for content creation and management. SoftChalk Cloud is LMS neutral and is perfect for use by faculty and staff to create interactive and engaging online learning materials. With SoftChalk Cloud you can easily create accessible materials that comply with section 508 requirements. SoftChalk is dedicated to making our tool as barrier-free as possible for all students. What's more, faculty and staff can easily search and integrate MERLOT content into their learning module or lesson via an easy to use integrated SoftChalk/MERLOT interface, and can directly catalog this lesson into the MERLOT repository. Special pricing is available for CSU faculty and staff. Learn more about special pricing for SoftChalk Cloud, accessibility strategy and services for MERLOT partners by contacting Paul Miller. Click for more information on SoftChalk’s accessibility strategy.


XanEdu logo

XanEdu – provides easy-to-use custom publishing services and tools. Instructors who prefer a highly supported experience need only submit a syllabus to XanEdu’s skilled team of developmental editors. XanEdu will manage copyright permissions, help identify content which aligns to course topics, and even prepare original manuscripts for publication. For those who prefer do-it-yourself resources, XanEdu offers a robust platform for custom book creation with an extensive library of 12 million full-text and pre-cleared content items including complete books, book chapters, journal articles, open education resources, and more. Completed course materials can be delivered to students in print, digital, or print + digital formats. XanEdu’s award-winning myXanEdu student delivery experience is available via native iPad and Android apps or on any device via a cloud-based reader. The myXanEdu reader supports annotation, highlighting, student collaboration, cross-device synchronization, and keyword search. With XanEdu, instructors have the ability to design course materials which are tailored to their course and engaging while controlling the price students pay. To request assistance on a custom project or access to XanEdu’s do-it-yourself tools, visit


Montezuma publishing logo

Montezuma Publishing has been a recognized leader in the custom course reader market for over 30 years. Offering digital and print course readers, copyright services and more at lower costs than traditional print course materials. Learn More About Montezuma Publishing



Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing.  Did you know? There are rules and regulations pertaining to the legal use of content from third parties for teaching. Check out the CSU copyright and fair use policies and Creative Commons Licenses for faculty to learn more.