VIA Inside Higher Ed: Why Pay for Textbooks?

Suzanne Ferimer of the UH Libraries (and the UH Faculty Senate) called my attention to this piece, and I’m curious how faculty and librarians feel about this issue.  Here is a sample from the IHE article:

[Traditional, commercially-produced] introductory physics texts [will soon] have a new competitor, developed at Rice University. A free online physics book, peer-reviewed and designed to compete with major publishers’ offerings, will debut next month through the non-profit publisher OpenStax College.

Using Rice’s Connexions platform, OpenStax will offer free course materials for five common introductory classes. The textbooks are open to classes anywhere and organizers believe the programs could save students $90 million in the next five years if the books capture 10 percent of the national market. OpenStax is funded by grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the 20 Million Minds Foundation and the Maxfield Foundation.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/02/07/rice-university-announces-open-source-textbooks#ixzz1ovNv4gQl
Inside Higher Ed
We’ve had very protracted debates about textbooks in the past at UH, without ever developing a consensus.  Now, as the price of textbooks continues to rise, the state is starting to pay attention, even as publishers continue to pile on the supplementary goodies to justify their pricing.  So should the university try to set a policy regarding Open Sourcing of textbooks? Any thoughts?
DM
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