‘Open’ textbooks help manage costs

USA Today reports on the growing use of ‘open’ textbooks:

Open textbooks are free textbooks available online that are licensed to allow users to download, customize and print any part of the text. Professors can change content to fit their teaching styles. Some authors offer a print-on-demand service that produces professionally bound copies for $10 to $20.

Textbook prices have outpaced inflation 2-to-1 in the past two decades, says a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office. They account for 26% of tuition and fees at four-year public universities and nearly three-quarters of costs at community colleges, the GAO says.

Open textbooks can change the way textbooks are used, produced and sold, says Nicole Allen, director of the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign by Student Public Interest Research Groups.

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