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Open Textbooks

"Course Correction: How Digital Textbooks Are Off Track and How to Set Them Straight"

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The escalating cost of college textbooks—which typically add $700 to $1,000 to a student’s annual cost of education—has generated an urgent need for solutions, says a study released last month.

Digital “e-textbooks” potentially offer greater affordability, printing options, and accessibility, but the versions that textbook publishers have released so far are failing to live up to that promise, concludes the study, conducted by the Student PIRGs, a Chicago-based coalition of student chapters of state-based “public interest research groups.”

The groups surveyed 504 college students from Oregon and Illinois and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles.

The study argues that another emerging form of digital textbooks—open textbooks, which are distributed free under an open license—are a better solution, providing lower prices, more printing options, and accessibility.

Vol. 28, Issue 02, Page 5

Published in Print: September 3, 2008, as Open Textbooks
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