As a father of high-school and college attending kids, I know all to well that text book pricing is something between exorbitant and theft. And while “we” tend to think the teachers and professors like to press some extra money from students (read: usually parents) that is not the case, with the notable exception of professors demanding a student to buy a textbook written by themselves and published through a nice publishing contract. But there is shift and the wave seems to gain traction and about bloody time. CNN:
But the key buy-in has been from teachers who make the assignments and who, in my college days, could not care less how much the textbooks cost. What’s changed?
“There has been a mind shift,” co-founder Eric Frank told Wired.com. A tipping point came a couple of years ago when faculty began to consider the financial burden on students because many of them (Frank estimates a third) didn’t bother to get the textbook at all.Perhaps more to the point, open-source textbooks — which are Creative Commons-licensed to allow unencumbered non-commercial use — make it possible to graft supporting material to the curriculum, rather than the other way around.
“Faculty are notorious for wanting to do things their way,” said Frank. “But they always had to cut the foot to fit the shoe. Now, with open source, they can cut the shoe to fit the foot.”
There is virtually no friction involved. A professor can register on Flat World’s site and let students know that the book is available there. No cooperation from a school district or college administration is required.
“Every single class is a fiefdom, and they are kings and queens of their domain,” Frank jokes.
Now lets hope and pray this will catch on for high school too.