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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: textbooks

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July 28, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Free textbooks: New website helps profs find best e-books and videos

The OPEN Washington website

The OPEN Washington website

Building on several years of work with free textbook development, the state’s community college board has created a website that highlights the best available free- and low-cost textbooks and other educational resources from around the country.

The website is called OPEN Washington, and its aim is to help professors and college instructors find free or low-cost online textbooks, videos, curricula and other resources from a wide variety of sources.

It was created by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

Along with everything else in higher education, textbooks have zoomed in price in recent years; some studies suggest that the average college student spends as much as $800 to $1,000 per academic year buying textbooks. And students are often stuck with books that they can’t sell back to the bookstore because versions change from year to year.


Comments | More in News | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks

March 13, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Your voices: How Seattle students and teachers save money on textbooks


Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

We received several responses to our earlier prompt asking readers how they save money on textbooks. The question stemmed from a story by higher education reporter Katherine Long about local college students who are pressing their professors to cut costs by using open-source online course materials.

Both students and teachers volunteered to share their strategies. Here are some excerpts:

I buy used textbooks and use student materials that go with the textbook and sometimes buy the online version. I’m not thrilled about how much the books still cost, but sometimes the online versions have been better than the printed versions. However, I find the online versions harder to read in some ways, maybe since I’m an older student than most.

—Will Affleck-Asch, Seattle


Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: higher ed, textbooks

March 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM

How do you save money on textbooks?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

The high cost of college textbooks is nothing new, but technology could be making it easier for students to pursue cheaper alternatives.

On Sunday, reporter Katherine Long wrote about how college students in Seattle and Tacoma are pushing their professors to seek out free or low-cost online versions of textbooks.

Several readers offered their own advice on how to avoid paying full price for textbooks. From online commenter “drthompson”:

“To save students money, I required the previous edition of the text that can often be found on eBay or Amazon for less than $20 rather than the $140 new version. So many basic topics don’t really change, so there’s no reason to line the pockets of the publishers simply because they decide to ‘update’ textbooks every two years!”


Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks