The OER Knowledge Cloud makes use of cookies. By continuing, you consent to this use. More information.
The case for Creative Commons textbooks
Beshears, Fred

PublishedSeptember 2014
PeriodicalVolume 2014, Pages blog- posted on September 13th, 2014
PublisherInnovation Memes

This is an article I wrote back in 2005. It starts with a discussion of the high cost of textbooks ($900/year per student), and then considers a very novel idea for financing an open alternative to commercial textbooks. Specifically, it starts by adding up money the British Open University spends on its online courses annually (up to $3 million dollars a course). Then it calculates how much it would cost for a coalition of 1,000 schools to buy out the British Open University. The objective of doing so would be to put 200 of their online courses in the public domain. This would cost the coalition up to $75 million per year in total, or $75,000 per school per year. Finally, it points out that for a school the size of UC Berkelely, which has 23,000 undergraduates, this would work out to $3.26 per student per year.

(Note: This material was presented by the author at the CATS (Community of Academic Technology Staff) Conference at Sacramento State University this March, and at the Syllabus 2005 conference in Los Angeles this July. It has also been published on the CETIS (the United Kingdom's Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards) website. And, in April 2007, the author presented this article to a sub-committee of the US House of Representatives investigating the cost of textbooks.)

Keywords business model · open textbooks · OpenTextbook

Other numberDecember 9th, 2014
RefereedDoes not apply
Access dateDecember 9th, 2014
Export optionsBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar

Viewed by 12 distinct readers


The evaluations below represent the judgements of our readers and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Cloud editors.

Click a star to be the first to rate this document


OER in context: Reforming the textbook market and higher education
Beshears, Fred
Here are descriptions of and links to a few of my blog posts on Open Educational Resources (OER). Many also discuss OER in the context of reforming both the textbook market and traditional institutions of higher ...
Match: Beshears, Fred; open textbooks

Why all self respecting economists should support open textbooks
Beshears, Fred
As the title suggests, this post makes the theoretical case for treating online textbooks as a public good, which means that some combination of government and non-profit funding should be used to fund the development ...
Match: Beshears, Fred; open textbooks

David L. Kirp on the British Open University
Beshears, Fred
This is an extended quote from a book by UC Berkeley Professor David Kirp. It provides an excellent description of the team-based approach the OU UK uses to develop their online courses.
Match: Beshears, Fred; open textbooks

Persuading faculty to select open textbooks
Beshears, Fred
This one starts with the assumption that high quality, open, online textbooks are already available. It then points out that since faculty don't have to pay for the textbooks they select for their courses, they don't ...
Match: Beshears, Fred; open textbooks

Investigating the perceptions, use, and impact of open textbooks: A survey of post-secondary students in British Columbia
Jhangiani, Rajiv; Jhangiani, Surita
Unrelenting increases in the price of college textbooks have prompted the development and adoption of open textbooks, educational resources that are openly licensed and available to students free of cost. Although ...
Match: textbooks; open textbooks

Exploring the business case for open educational resources
Butcher, Neil; Hoosen, Sarah
Table of Contents: 1 The Context of OER 1.1 Global Trends and Challenges in Education 1.2 The OER Value Proposition 2 The Economics of OER 2.1 Introduction 2.2 OER and Course Design The value of ...
Match: business model; open textbooks

Affordable and open textbooks: An exploratory study of faculty attitudes
Harley, Diane; Lawrence, Shannon; Acord, Sophia Krzys; Dixson, Jason
The textbook industry is in significant flux fueled by evolving technologies, increased availability of online open content and curricula, active used textbook markets, and a rash of textbook rental start-ups, just to ...
Match: textbooks

Why openess in education?
Wiley, David A.; Green, Cable; Oblinger, Diana. G.
In this chapter, we explore a number of ways openness affects the practices of teaching and learning and the motivations behind supporters of these emergent practices. We discuss the three principal influences of ...
Match: textbooks

Conversation is the key : A short history of
Harris, Beth; Zucker, Steven is a proven, sustainable model for open educational resources in the Humanities. We discuss lessons learned during its agile development. is a free, creative-commons licensed, ...
Match: textbooks

College textbooks made more accessible through Netflix-like subscription
Roddy, Kate
Through a new subscription service, students are given unlimited access to over 20,000 online resources.
Match: textbooks