The law professor Michael Geist ( a specialist in Internet and eCommerce law at the U of Ottawa) reported on the Creative Commons conference in his recent blog post: http://www.michaelgeist.ca/2017/05/ontario-government-placing-big-bet-open-textbooks/
He concentrated on Ontario’s move to provide open and free textbooks. For those who don’t know, textbooks are extremely expensive to produce, though profitable for publishers. A study was done in 2009, that also looked at digital books, but remember the iPhone and Amazon’s Kindle were launched in 2007 and textbooks were not yet in consideration. University textbooks in Canada can cost $100 or more each. Publishers claim that the low numbers sold of individual text books justify the high prices. Maybe. A number of years ago, I submitted a textbook idea to an acquisitions editor of a university press. They were interested, but when I asked if they produced eBooks, the editor said, no but some older editions were produced as pdfs. “Hmmmm” I thought, musing that universities are supposed to be on the leading edge. It is one reason my online courses do not require textbooks. The course notes and links together form the course textbook.
Education should be entirely tax supported. It is one thing for families and even teachers to supply paper or notebooks (though these were covered by taxes in my school days). K-12 schools still supply texbooks, though hearsay reports note they are in terrible condition. This is not acceptable at university, and it is even less acceptable that textbooks should be both required and at a stratospheric cost.