Opinion: Universities should offer open textbooks

Apr 6, 2021

To the editor:

The call for educated candidates in the world of careers increases every year, yet the question of expensive textbooks and resources is swept under the rug.

How are students expected to become these “perfect” employees when they must choose between paying for groceries or for one textbook?

I had my own reality check with expensive textbooks as a senior in high school.

My literature class participated in an essay contest where the prizes consisted of checks ranging between $100 to $200, meant for college textbooks.

I placed third and received $100, thinking it was a decent amount of money for a 17-year-old to put aside for college textbooks.

Little did I know, $100 wouldn’t even pay for one of my textbooks for a required university study credit.

Textbook prices have risen over a thousand percent since 1977 and the fact that students are forced to choose between education and necessities is an unacceptable reality.

Fortunately, there is a solution that is more accessible than ever.

Open textbooks are textbooks licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by the public.

If they can become more available to students, these unacceptable realities won’t be the normal anymore.

Faculty members who offer open textbooks for their classes have a higher rate in student performance, and with society’s push for educated candidates in the job field, it only makes sense to offer these resources. 

Amanda Harlfinger

UMass Dartmouth