Advanced Education Minister John Yap says up to 200,000 students could save money next year.
"This new approach — open learning, free online textbooks — will help reduce the costs and help make education more affordable," he said.
The province will work with post-secondary institutions to implement the open textbook policy, with a plan to have the textbooks online as early as next year.
The province estimates students spend $900 to $1,500 each year on textbooks. The online textbooks will be free to view and can be printed for a fraction of the price of traditional texts.
Yap says B.C. is leading Canada in delivering free, open textbooks, and joins several other international jurisdictions in taking a leadership role in putting technology to work for students.
He estimates the program will cost taxpayers $600,000 to $1 million each year.