As textbook prices skyrocket, college students and faculty seeking more affordable options increasingly are turning to "open textbooks" as an alternative, USA Today reports. Open textbooks are free textbooks available online that are licensed to allow users to download, customize, and print any part of the text. Professors can change content to fit their teaching styles. Some authors offer a print-on-demand service that produces professionally bound copies for $10 to $20. Textbook prices have outpaced inflation 2-to-1 in the past two decades, says a 2005 report by the Government Accountability Office. They account for 26 percent of tuition and fees at four-year public universities and nearly three-quarters of costs at community colleges, the GAO says. Open textbooks can change the way textbooks are used, produced, and sold, says Nicole Allen, director of the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign by Student Public Interest Research Groups. The nonprofit student advocacy network has been pushing for open textbooks since 2003, hoping the format catches on so prices will decrease and bring some relief…

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