The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Open-source texts offer free options

By Mario Montalvo/ne news editor
A number of students these days are illegally downloading copies of college textbooks to ease the burden of paying for college.

While I don’t condone piracy, the rising costs of tuition and the current state of the economy make it easy to understand why students are doing it. Some textbooks cost even more than the classes they accompany.
If given the option, most students would rather not pay hundreds of dollars for textbooks. Some choose not to buy books and try getting by with what they learn in class or by borrowing books from friends.

Buying used textbooks or renting are ways to save money without breaking the law, or students can sell books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester to recoup some costs.

But because textbooks change all the time, that isn’t always an option. And those options can still be expensive.

Rice University has partnered with nonprofit publisher OpenStax to create free open source texts for five of the most common introductory courses.

A state senate bill in California, if it is passed into law, would create a library of open-source textbooks for the 50 most popular lower-divison college courses.

In addition to being cheaper, open source books can be updated easily to expand a chapter or correct a typo. Open source books shouldn’t be overlooked. If done properly, they could work.

There’s no denying the appeal of free books, especially to the more cost-conscious students that community colleges like TCC tend to attract.

This semester, I chose not to buy a book for one class. Most of the information needed to successfully complete the class was available online through the publisher’s free companion site and glossary.

To have that information in the form of a free e-book would have been easier than having to go to the website every time I had a quiz or a test.

Students don’t have any choice but to buy books. Open source books would create competition and drive down prices, making college more affordable.

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