In today’s day and age, many students choose to purchase their textbooks online. For authors, their work is protected under copyright laws whether it be for their physical or digital works. The price of purchasing textbooks only adds on to the astronomical costs of higher education.
If authors allowed their online textbooks to be distributed under a Creative Commons license, there would inevitably be a number of advantages and disadvantages. The primary benefit that comes to mind is that this would allow all students access to required textbooks without increasing the financial burden. In theory, this promotes fairness and gives each student an opportunity to obtain the appropriate materials without regards to their ability to afford it.
An advantage of open access to textbooks for authors is that they will be able to spread their work on a more mass scale which can invite innovation and constructive scrutiny to their works. This could allow for authors to receive more valuable feedback and perhaps refine their works over time to include concepts that they may have left out initially.
While this all sounds nice, it is difficult to see how authors would want to provide access to their works without being compensated. It can take a number of years to write and refine textbooks. This is a valuable source of income and livelihood for many authors and by allowing access under a Creative Commons license, it may become difficult for authors to remain motivated to produce high quality, or even any type of work of this nature.
While there may be a way to make textbooks more affordable for all students, using a Creative Commons license may not be the optimal way. It is likely an idea that sounds much better in theory than in practice.