Sunday, June 24, 2012

California Senate Passes Digital Textbook Legislation

The California State Senate approved two bills on May 30 aimed at lowering textbook costs in order to make college more affordable for students.

The bills, introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would allow students free access to digital textbooks for the top 50 college courses and print copies for $20 each. A California Open Source Digital Library would also be created to house the books.

According to Steinberg, his two bills are needed because on average a student will spend about $1,000 in textbooks per year.


The first measure, Senate Bill 1052, passed by a vote of 32-2. The bill will create a council with representatives from Cal State University, University of California, and California Community Colleges to decide which textbooks will be added to the digital library and who will oversee the library.

Senate Bill 1053, the second measure of the bill, will use the decisions from the council to create a digital library for the open-source materials.

According to Southern California Public Radio, the textbook industry is concerned about state government funding digital textbooks and potentially dictating to faculty that they must use the textbook materials chosen by the council.

If the legislation is passed, it will go into effect in January. It would cost about $25 million dollars to implement.

The bills have now been passed on to the State Assembly for a final vote.

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