Florida Lightens the Financial (and Physical) Burden of Textbooks

In an effort to bring down the cost of learning materials, a new project will allow Florida college students to get digital versions of some of their textbooks free of charge, the St. Petersburg Times reported on Thursday.

The undertaking, called Orange Grove Texts Plus, is being spearheaded by the University Press of Florida with support from the state’s digital library database.

The project houses 124 books that students can either read free online, or — if they prefer ink and paper — have printed and bound at a much cheaper price than the original, the Times says.

The article says the average yearly cost of textbooks for Florida students exceeds $1,200 dollars.

While the project aims to decrease this burden for students, Meredith Babb, director of the press, told the Times that she expected some objections from professors who can earn large amounts of money publishing nationally circulated books. “The model has always been to throw a chunk of money at a professor to write a book that can be used nationally,” Ms. Babb told the newspaper. “What we are trying to do is turn the paradigm on its ear and say, ‘It’s not about a professor getting rich. It’s about affordability for students.’”

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