On the heels of a new federal law on textbook affordability, the Student PIRGs today released a report calling rentals, e-books and e-readers short-term remedies, and hailing open textbooks as the next step to rein in runaway costs. Already, more than 1,300 professors across the country are using open textbooks - which are free online, affordable in print and openly licensed - saving students 80% on average according to the new report.
WASHINGTON — Ending one of the fiercest lobbying fights in Washington, Congress voted Thursday to force commercial banks out of the federal student loan market, cutting off billions of dollars in profits in a sweeping restructuring of financial-aid programs and redirecting most of the money to new education initiatives.
The Student PIRGs conducted this study to determine how digital textbooks can live up to their potential as a solution. Through a survey of 504 students from Oregon and Illinois and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles, we confirm three fundamental criteria – affordability, printing options, and accessibility. We found that publishers’ digital “e-textbooks” fail to meet these criteria, and that an emerging form of digital textbooks – open textbooks – are a perfect match. (August 2008)