In the U.S., buying and selling textbooks is almost as hated as 7:30 a.m. classes. Flat World, a company in New York, says it is launching a pilot project to give away virtual texts on 15 campuses. They have a goal to demolish the $5.5 billion text publishing industry by offering the books through the internet, many of which integrate audio and video.
"The texts are produced on an open-source platform, meaning they can be updated easily and professors can customize each textbook to match a particular lesson plan," Time.com says. "Those are major advantages over paper editions, says Dana Lanham, an advertising professor at University of North Carolina in Charlotte. 'Being online lets the content be so dynamic,' says Lanham, who will teach some 70 students using Flat World texts this fall. 'Usually textbooks are out of date as soon as you print them.'"
Nobody involved in the class book project is happy, not authors, faculty or students. All the books have been peer reviewed and promise to deliver high quality. A former exec with the largest text publisher says "why not try something different?"
Here is another article on free textbooks: