College without textbooks | Michigan Radio

College without textbooks

Feb 8, 2014

The rising cost of college textbooks is leading more students to opt out of purchasing them altogether.

A new report suggests many students are missing out on some educational opportunities by not buying textbooks.

Ethan Senack is a higher education associate with the Public Interest Research Group, which wrote the report.

He says the good news is that students are ready for alternatives to the traditional textbook model.

The report proposes more universities embrace the use of open textbooks, which are faculty written and peer reviewed, but published under an open license, and free for students to read online or download and print.

“There's a tremendous potential to save students money and give them the access they need to the textbooks they're required to buy for their course without breaking the bank,” says Senack.

Open textbooks typically cost from $20 to $40 for the purchase of a hard copy.

Legislation to authorize grants for the creation and adaptation of more open textbooks has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House.

But the bills face stiff objections from the traditional publishing industry and have not made it to the floor of either chamber.