From the press release:
For many students, it is a struggle to make ends meet while financing their studies. Soaring prices are putting required textbooks out of the reach of many students, ultimately leading them to drop out. Online publisher bookboon.com is determined to put an end to this negative trend by offering free open access textbooks.
Students spend an average of $1,168 on textbooks, according to the College Board’s 2011 Trends in College Pricing. “We know the current pricing of textbooks is discouraging students from purchasing the mandatory reading, but we are changing that. Our mission is to make it possible for students to go through university without having to spend a single dollar on textbooks, and we are already making a difference for many students,” says Thomas Buus Madsen, COO at bookboon.com. The publisher currently offers over 800 free textbooks on their website.
More students will succeed
Robin Donaldson from the Open Access Textbooks Project in Florida, which is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, shares the conviction that textbooks are putting too much financial pressure on students. “This year, we conducted a survey at Florida College amongst students. 64% reported that it had happened at least once that they hadn’t purchased the required textbook for one of their classes because of high costs. In addition, 23% reported that they regularly decided not to purchase any required textbooks for the same reason.”
Donaldson believes that open access textbooks will get more students to finish their degrees. “By using open access textbooks, we’re giving all students free access to their textbooks, lowering their education costs, and improving their chances at successfully completing their degrees.” Donaldson continues, “There are many approaches to making textbooks freely available to students, and the commercial models such as those of bookboon.com and, for instance, Flat World Knowledge are some of the most innovative.”
Textbooks financed by future employers
Bookboon’s textbooks are free thanks to the inclusion of a small number of employer branding and recruitment advertisements in the books. “The ads are targeted at specific students. If you are a Senior Engineering student, you will see Engineering companies telling you about future career opportunities,” explains Buus Madsen. When students download the Strategic Management textbook, they find advertisements at the bottom of every 4-5 pages.
Larry Walther, professor at Utah State University, published with Bookboon to help his students. Students can now view the free textbook on their computers and tablets. “If they prefer having a hard copy, they can just print it out,” Walther explains and continues, “This is one of the ways technology will lower the cost of educational materials.” Walther says it is common for students to complain about textbook prices, and he doesn’t blame them. “Most books required for an accounting class are around $200,” he says.
Bookboon.com‘s textbooks are available in PDF and can be read on any computer, tablet or eReader. All textbooks are written exclusively for the publisher by professors from leading universities.
Textbook prices are unconscionable. This initiative will be a great boon for many students, and will have some effect in decreasing their debt loads.