Monday, March 24, 2014
Free Textbooks in the Future
University of Maryland is exploring ways to bring the cost of textbooks to zero with ‘open-source’ electronic books. I just came across an article regarding a new strategy to reduce college textbook costs to zero and I was immediately interested.
These books are not like the electronic versions of textbooks sold by publishers. In fact, open-source text books comprise of materials collected from various sources and are not protected by copyright. They are designed to be interactive, with links to source material and multimedia elements. This sounds like an idea, which can save the students a huge amount of money although, will come with a price to textbook publishers and campus bookstores. However, with the rapid digitization in education system, I think it’s inevitable. Although the implementation of this requires a lot of time, energy and money.
College textbooks are a huge strain on students as well as their families. The costs have been rising every year and, students are always looking for cheaper books from amazon and previous students. There are also those who avoid buying textbooks because they cannot afford them. This sometimes results in lower performance at school than their actual potential.
Publishing companies are also known to drive up costs by adding CD-ROMS to the books. Most of the times, they’re actually useless. Newer edition to the textbooks makes previous books obsolete and difficult to sell. Thanks to the rapidly enhancing technology, this system might be changed in the future.