Free online textbook library launches for Ontario students

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An online library of free open-source textbooks has just launched this month for post-secondary students across Ontario, with a $1-million investment from the provincial government for more content on the way.

Created by eCampus Ontario, a not-for-profit corporation that works on projects for the province’s post-secondary institutions, the Open Textbook Library (OTL) currently has just over 180 textbooks in its database that are freely available to read and download.

According to Deb Matthews, the Ontario minister of advanced education and skills development, the library is based off of a similar OTL project in British Columbia that’s been running since 2012.

“If British Columbia is any example, they’ve saved students about four and a half million dollars over the past few years since they’ve launched, and we’ve got three times as many students. So this will be a big cost-saver,” Matthews said.

The $1-million investment will go into creating more learning material for the library, with a focus on increasing French language and Indigenous content, as well as adapting existing material for other fields.

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Here’s how to save big on your textbook rentals

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As if college tuition wasn’t bad enough, textbook costs are also through the roof (some cost upwards of $250). And by the time you graduate, it’s safe to say you’ve spent $1,000+ on books alone.

Luckily, Amazon offers a textbook rental system that can save you up to 90 percent on new and used textbooks. The giant online retailer guarantees the correct edition of the book by having you search using its ISBN number. And if you prefer to go green and paperless, they even offer deals on e-textbooks.

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Digital Textbooks Save Indiana University Students Millions

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Students at Indiana University are saving over $3 million every single year thanks to a digital textbook initiative called eText.

eCampusNews reports that more than 40,000 IU students have used at least one eText that they have downloaded to a digital device thanks to IU’s direct partnerships with a number of publishers.

“Digital textbooks and course materials should cost less and do more for learning,” says IU Vice President for IT Brad Wheeler in the article. “We see that happening in IU’s rapidly growing eText program as it is growing 50 percent year-over-year in 2,600 course selections.”

Digital Textbooks Expand Access, Streamline Class Time

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