Wow, it appears we are on the cusp (or in the midst) of a textbook revolution. Students, parents, and campus entrepreneurs should be dancing in the streets. We have been talking a lot about e-books lately, but have talked textbooks more generally here (Godin), there, and other places.
Today brings even more news, Barnes and Noble is buying back its College Booksellers (it was independent), digital textbook maker Akademos just took in more VC, and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation has given money to the Community College Collaborative for Open Education Resources. Doug Lederman has a nice post on the subject at InsideHigherEd.com. From Lederman:
The third and last of Monday’s news developments also comes in the digital textbook arena — but from the free, rather than for-profit, perspective. The Community College Collaborative for Open Educational Resources said the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation had given it $1.5 million in new funds to expand its work, which focuses on increasing the number of free, online textbooks and training community college instructors on how best to use such books. Its main resource, the Community College Open Textbook Project, has dozens of college members and seeks to significantly expand the number of freely available digital textbooks it makes available.
“This grant comes at an opportune time,” said Mike Brandy, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, which leads the online collaborative. “It coincides with the growing interest in open educational resources, such as President Obama’s proposal to invest $500 million over the next decade in developing free high school and college courses. Open textbooks are moving into the mainstream as financially distressed states such as California look to free digital textbooks to reduce the cost of public education.”
By the way, I also read (h/t TechFlash) that the iPhone now has a textbook reader and a small catalog of textbooks from CourseSmart.