Open textbooks gain momentum

“Their growth is going to be exponential as they grow their catalog,” said White, who supported federal legislation passed
last year that aims to bring down the cost of college books with a series of requirements for publishers and professors.

Support for open-license textbooks, White said, could stem from student demand and instructors’ desire to make tenure. Institutions often consider student evaluations when awarding tenure, and instructors who choose cheap or free open textbooks are more likely to get positive student reviews than educators who choose $250 books for their courses, White said.

“People want to be viewed positively,” he said. “Students vote economically. … The pressure isn’t so much peer to peer than it is from student to professor.”

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