Textbook torrents a-crashin’

In the Net… shared CC by ALA staff

Nothing more annoying than argument by anecdote…

I read a thread on Facebook where a young relative of mine posted a status message that a textbook he needed was sold out at the bookstore. A friend of his responded “why don’t you just download it?” To which the lad replied “you can do that?”, followed up a few minutes later with a new status message: “just saved $120 bucks on a calculus textbook – thank you IsoHunt!”…

Students torrenting textbooks is nothing new, but I thought this little episode was worth a Tweet. I got a lot more replies to this than normal (most of them privately), broken into two categories. From my younger peers, it was stuff like “it’s done all the time, the prices on textbooks are a rip-off”… and from people my own age it was “I didn’t know you could do that, got any tips?”

The seeds of revolt are planted, and again I think this is a huge opportunity for open educators. OpenEd 09 had some good sessions relevant to the topic, I’d refer you to the video (yes, every session at the conference was live-streamed and archived) for “Dispelling Myths about Open Textbooks”, “Free: Why Authors & Publishers are Giving Away Books” and “Living the Dream: Best Practices in OER Publication” (joint session), and a panel discussion on open textbooks.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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