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A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks are the Path to Textbook Affordability

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Abstract

This report evaluates cost-reducing options from the traditional textbook market - rentals, e-books and e-readers - and  open textbooks as potential next steps to reduce the high cost of textbooks.  The report finds that student attitudes toward digital textbooks and renting vary widely, and that any solution must accommodate many different preferences to extend the benefits to all students.  Rentals, e-books and e-readers do not appeal to all students, and therefore cannot be long-term solutions.  Open textbooks are a long-term solution, because they offer a range of affordable options including print copies, PDFs and free web-based versions that can reduce costs for all students.  The report concludes that promoting new models like open textbooks should be the next step toward making textbooks affordable.

The report is based on a survey of 1,428 students from ten campuses and an analysis of prices for 100 textbooks from 10 common college courses.

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