The bills sought by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would require the state to put out bids to create the open-source material for the top 50 college classes. It would be free on the Internet and allow students to buy printed copies at a low cost.
Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, says publishers currently charge "exorbitant" prices for the materials. He says the cheaper alternative would help offset soaring tuition and fees.
The American Publishers Association opposes the bill, saying publishers already have put many textbooks online at lower costs.
SB1052 passed 32-2, while a companion bill, SB1053, passed on a 33-2 vote Wednesday. Both bills go to the Assembly.