Bayanihan Books, an Open Textbook Initiative

Bayanihan is a Tagalog term originating from the root word Bayani, or hero.  Today, Bayanihan represents an heroic effort on the part of the community, or the actions of a group of people that result in a common good.  Greg Moreno’s new initiative, Bayanihan Books, is aptly named.   

With 17.5 million public school students in the Philippines, affordable access to textbooks is not a simple matter.  Textbook companies can monopolize the market, upping prices for students and schools that can’t always afford them.  Moreno’s plan is to compete with these companies by shifting the control of textbook content from a few to many—the community.  Textbook making will be a collaborative project, a sort of wiki-style peer editing and review consisting of volunteers.  The content will be published under a Creative Commons license specific to the Philippines that allows it to be shared. But the ultimate goal is to have the content be in print and distributed widely to public schools. That’s where the publishing companies come in.   

The publishing companies will bid on the content, and because they don’t have to deal with doling out royalty fees to a community of volunteers, they will only have to shoulder the costs of the actual printing.  Then they can distribute the books at minimal cost to schools around the country, while still making quite a profit for themselves.  Everyone wins.  

Currently, they are working on these two books.