Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
library banner

OER: Open Textbooks and other Open Educational Resources: What are OER?

CCS faculty can use these suggested resources to find open textbooks and other open educational resources. Want help? Have questions? Contact your library or eLearning office.

Open Education and the Future

Open Education and the Future

15 minute TED Talk by Dr. David Wiley from 2010

Open Content: Dr. David Wiley and related projects

Find open content of courses taught by OER expert, David Wiley, and explore related large-scale projects (K-12 and H.E.) which successfully use OER.

  • Wiley's BYU and USU courses include Instructional Design, OER, and others.
  • Included in the links below are commercial, OER adoption projects.

About this page

Content on this page is adapted from Erik Christensen's guide linked below.

Creative Commons License
Open Textbooks by Spokane Community College Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at:

What do open textbooks look like?

                                                    Physical Oceanography book coverNewtonian Physics book cover

[Textbook images from]

Hard copies of open textbooks can look much like traditional texts. The primary difference is that textbooks are also accessible online at no cost and the hardcopies are optional and affordable.

An open textbook is much more flexible than traditional texts.  You can create a custom version for your course by editing it yourself.

Open textbooks are available in both print & digital formats:

  • online, at no cost.
  • downloaded PDF at no cost.
  • print-on-demand, typically for $20 ‐ 40.

Many open textbooks contain  supplemental materials like test banks, quizzes, PPTs, etc.

Frequently asked questions

What makes a textbook open?

A textbook becomes "open" when its copyright-holder grants usage rights to the public through an "open license," which typically includes the right to access, reformat, and customize it at no additional cost.

How many open textbooks are there?

Thousands of open textbooks already exist and more are on the way.

Who pays open textbook authors?

Open publishing models are still evolving, so author payment varies. Some are paid royalties on print sales, some receive grant support, and other choose to write on their own time. 

Are open textbooks high quality?

Many open textbooks are developed through traditional peer-review, others are vetted by experts. As with any textbook, you are the final judge of whether an open textbook meets the needs of your course.

7 Things You Should Know . . .