Mathy Types Want Free Textbooks: Professional Publishers Do Not

March 25, 2022

The United States is home to many of the best universities in the world. Unfortunately higher education has become incredibly expensive. One of the biggest expenditures for students are textbooks. A single textbook can run hundreds of dollars and it could be for only one class! Many students, professors, universes, and organizations support open source and open access to textbooks.

Thew American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) supports free textbooks:

“The American Institute of Mathematics (AIM) seeks to encourage the adoption of open source and open access mathematics textbooks. The AIM Editorial Board has developed evaluation criteria to identify the books that are suitable for use in traditional university courses. The Editorial Board maintains a list of Approved Textbooks which have been judged to meet these criteria.

Approved Textbooks   The list is organized by courses ranging from pre-calculus to upper division analysis and algebra. Each book has a brief description of its important features and information about how to get it.

Evaluation Criteria   There are a number of features that the Editorial Board considers in evaluating textbooks.

Guide for Authors  Here is some advice on questions facing open textbook authors.

Editorial Board   The AIM Editorial Board develops the criteria for acceptance and reviews open textbooks.

Open access curriculum material for inquiry based learning courses can be found at
The Journal for Inquiry Based Learning in Mathematics.”

Authors and publishers of textbooks should be published for their work, but students do not need to pay hundreds of dollars for a single book they may not use. Professional publishers are likely to interpret the free textbook idea as evidence of lunacy which is difficult to convert to a function that yields revenue.

Whitney Grace, March 25, 2022


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