Many of us have suffered the indignity of $100 used copies, or worse, the spiteful look of the buyback agent as they offer us $30 for a book that cost $190, brand new. There are myriad humiliations to be felt at the hand of textbook purveyors–humiliations that would not be offered in even the most unsavory sex dungeons. But there is hope in sight, as an initiative out of Rice University aims to provide open-sourced copies of textbooks for the top fields that undergraduates are forced to suffer through:
Books will be available free online via computers, tablets and smartphones. Connexions’ print-on-demand feature will also make it possible for students to order low-cost print copies. A series of partnerships with companies providing testing, tutorials and other services will be announced at the Connexions conference in Houston on Wednesday.
Best of all, the content can be modified to suit the course, thus granting the professor freedom to make chapters 5, 6, 8, 12, and 57 relevant to your education. Huzzah!
Alas, tuition at most universities will soon cost several billion dollars per year, so this doesn’t really matter. But it will be nice while it lasts!