Textbook prices were a racket even when I was an undergraduate and then a graduate student in the 1960s. But more recently there has been a push to use open-source materials, peer-reviewed, as ourse textbooks, as the Washington Post reported on June 26
An important player is OpenStax, which produces free texts.
It’s pretty hard to contemplate how this works with some bukwark courses like, well, organic chemistry. I remember Fieser, and also a separate lab textbook, perfunctory enough, "Laboratory Practices in Organic Chemistry". A lot was known in 1963,