Free Textbooks Still on the Rise

21Sep08

From Worldchanging.com: In a move to counter the tight hold that publishing companies maintain over the supply of educational textbooks – and the resulting staggeringly high textbook prices – several institutions and individual professors are taking a stand to make their own works accessible and affordable through online distribution.
From The New York Times: …Professor McAfee allows anyone to download a Word file or PDF of his book, while also taking advantage of the growing marketplace for print on demand. … A broader effort to publish free textbooks is called Connexions, which was the brainchild of Richard G. Baraniuk, an engineering professor at Rice University, which has received $6 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. In addition to being a repository for textbooks covering a wide range of subjects and educational levels, its ethic is taken from the digital music world, he said — rip, burn and mash. … While these open-source projects slowly grow, the textbook publishers have entered the online publishing field with CourseSmart, a service owned by five publishers. In service for only a year, CourseSmart allows students to subscribe to a textbook and read it online, with the option of highlighting and printing out portions of it at a time.



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