College students and instructors are rushing to adopt the first free textbooks from upstart publisher OpenStax College. The Rice University-based publisher said it expects to save students at least $1 million this fall after 13,000 of its physics and sociology textbooks were ordered or downloaded in their first 10 weeks on the market.
"Our first two titles will save students more money in one semester than they cost to develop," said Rice engineering professor Richard Baraniuk, OpenStax College's founder and director. "We're well on our way to our five-year goal of saving 1 million college students $95 million."
OpenStax College launched in February with a philanthropic model to offer free textbooks for the most heavily attended college courses in the nation. Baraniuk said more than 50,000 online users have viewed the first two titles -- College Physics and Introduction to Sociology -- since they were published in June. The books also have been downloaded nearly 7,000 times, and instructors at 55 colleges have adopted the books for fall classes.
Dean Florez, president of 20 Million Minds Foundation, one of OpenStax College's philanthropic partners, said, "As a foundation, we are impressed by OpenStax College's immediate impact on the market. Our mission is to provide immediate relief for students who are being saddled with $1 trillion in educational debt. We are extremely encouraged too see how rapidly faculty are embracing this solution for the benefit of their students."
OpenStax College Editor-in-Chief David Harris said new orders from college bookstores are coming in daily. He said students and instructors are also flocking to the titles online; College Physics is averaging more than 1,000 views per day, and more than 10,000 users have viewed Introduction to Sociology.
"The response has been phenomenal, especially when you consider that these two books were published less than three months ago," said Harris, a 22
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