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The state senate has approved a pair of bills that could make it easier for college students to get access to inexpensive digital textbooks for popular courses.
The state Senate has approved a pair of bills that could make it easier for college students to get access to inexpensive digital textbooks for popular courses. Both measures passed overwhelmingly on Wednesday, despite opposition from the textbook industry.
Only two Republicans voted against the bills, and those who spoke during the floor debate praised the measures’ approach.
“When I first saw this bill, I envisioned state employees getting together and writing calculus books and physics books," said GOP Senator Anthony Cannella during an exchange on the Senate floor. "But that’s not really what you want. You’re gonna go out to bid and let people — anybody, publishers or anybody — have the opportunity to develop these textbooks?”
"That’s right," confirmed Democratic state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, the bills' author.
The bills would then set up a state-run open source digital library to house the e-books.
The textbook industry says it’s concerned about state government funding digital textbooks — and potentially dictating to faculty that they must use those materials.
The measures next move to the California state Assembly.