California is paving the way for the future of digital textbooks. Governor Jerry Brown just signed a law that gives college students at select public schools access to free digital versions of 50 textbooks needed in lower-division courses.
College students at the University of California, California State University, and the California Community College system are all eligible. Students are also able to buy physical copies of the textbooks for $20.
It’s all part of the new online repository of open source textbooks in California that’s expected to be available to students at the start of the next academic year. Look for even more textbooks to be added (on top of the current 50) very soon.
This may very well be a trend you’re likely to see happening across the country and world as governments step in to help increase access to textbooks thanks to diminished costs associated with digital copies. It’s an exciting time for these students in California but also the rest of us waiting on the sidelines for this kind of exciting legislation.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who wrote the bills, says the online repository will help relieve some of the financial (and physical) strain on college students: “Many students are paying more than $1,000 every year on their textbooks. Sometimes [they have] to choose between buying the books they need or paying for food and other living expenses.”