Monday, August 18, 2008

Free digital texts begin to challenge costly college textbooks

Would-be reformers are trying to beat the high cost -- and, they say, the dumbing down -- of college materials by writing or promoting open-source, no-cost online texts.
By Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 18, 2008
The annual college textbook rush starts this month, a time of reckoning for many students who will struggle to cover eye-popping costs of $128, $156, even $198 a volume.

Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee finds it annoying that students and faculty haven't looked harder for alternatives to the exorbitant prices. McAfee wrote a well-regarded open-source economics textbook and gave it away -- online. But although the text, released in 2007, has been adopted at several prestigious colleges, including Harvard and Claremont-McKenna, it has yet to make a dent in the wider textbook market.

"I was disappointed in the uptake," McAfee said recently at an outdoor campus cafe. "But I couldn't continue assigning idiotic books that are starting to break $200."



Royi said...

Hopefully most publishers will move into the PDF platform.
A reduced price an more knowledge to the people.

Goutam said...

Disctance education ( ) is getting more importance even in third world countries. Bangladesh government has publised all the textbooks to their web site along with the printed version. Hope publishers will understand to publish important books on pdf format.