In this context, "open" means that the content in the textbooks is free (...well, it means more than that). Thus, the cost of a physical textbook would only come from the process of printing and shipping the book. For an electronic book (an ebook), it would be free! For colleges, that means that college students much less for physical textbooks for nothing for ebooks. For K-12 schools, it means the the school district would have thousands of dollars a year!
Hello Senator Harkin,
As an Iowan, recent alumni of Iowa State University, and advocate of open culture, I would like to say that you should support the Open College Textbook Act of 2009. You have great influence over this bill because it is currently in your US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Please give this bill more attention so that it can reach the senate floor. This type of bill is very innovative and too good to simply let it "die" in committee.
Thank your for your service in the US Senate and reading my letter.