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Are Open Source Textbooks The Cheaper Solution College Students Need?

The textbooks, produced with publicly available material, are issued for free or a fraction of the hundreds of dollars typically spent on books.

STORRS, Conn. — The standard textbook for Fundamentals of General Chemistry I at the University of Connecticut has a list price of $303. For students who use the version professor Edward Neth is preparing for the fall semester, the cost will be zero.

An early adopter of open source textbooks, Neth said he turned to the new technology out of frustration with spiraling prices of commercial textbooks.

"It's seeing the costs go up every semester and almost feeling powerless," Neth said.

Student textbooks for rent sit on the shelves at the City College Bookstore in New York.Bebeto Matthews / AP