California State Senate Bill Seeks to Create Open Source Textbook Library

Curan Mehra | The Daily Californian | February 29, 2012

College students may find relief from high textbook prices in a California State Senate bill that would create a free open source textbook library. State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, introduced a bill Feb. 8 that would fund a library containing open source textbooks for the 50 most popular lower division courses at the state’s colleges and universities. Students could download the textbooks for free or pay about $20 for a hard copy.

On March 3, the bill — which asks for $25 million in state funding to create the open source textbooks — will be eligible for discussion in committee hearings. But that funding request can change as the bill moves through the hearings, according to Steinberg spokesperson Alicia Trost.

Steinberg estimated in a Dec. 13 press release that the library could save nearly $1,000 annually per student. His plan would create a council composed of nine faculty members from the UC, CSU and community colleges to determine which textbooks to produce and develop a peer review process to ensure the quality of the materials in the library...