Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbook prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than four times the rate of inflation for the past two decades!

It’s no accident that textbooks are so expensive. Publishing companies are raking in huge profits while engaging in bad practices that drive up costs: issuing new editions that make used books hard to find, bundling textbooks with unnecessary CDs and pass-codes, and more. They get away with it because students don’t have a choice -- we’ve got to buy the book they’re selling, even if the price is outrageous.

The good news is that there are other options available. Students can save hundreds of dollars through discounted options like renting, buying used books and arranging bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum however comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So we're fighting to rein in costs by promoting cost-saving solutions on campus, while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores, and raising awareness through research and the media. We're also calling on publishers, colleges and foundations to give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

We'll need your help though to accomplish this goal; the administration will enact official change only once enough students start calling for a solution. Please join us in asking faculty to start adopting open-source textbooks into their classrooms.

We've now begun a partnership with ASUW to help get more open-source textbooks into classrooms!

Please also take the time to check out OpenStax College, a fantastic provider of open-source textbooks. 

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

News Release | Textbooks

'Textbook Rebellion' Launches Cross-Country Tour

The Textbook Rebellion kicked off a six-week, cross-country tour with events planned for 40 campuses nationwide.  At the tour stop, the University of Maryland, coalition members, students, faculty and a representative from the U.S. Department of Education were joined by the tour mascots, 'Mr. $200 Textbook' and 'Textbook Rebel,' to announce the launch.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Textbooks

Ripoff 101: Tips for Saving on Textbooks

It's been 8 years since we launched a campaign to make textbooks more affordable. I’m impressed by the progress we’ve made, but there’s still much work to be done.

It’s buying season though, so before I give the rundown on the campaign, check out the NYT’s Guide to Finding Cheap Textbooks.

> Keep Reading
Report | Textbooks

A Cover to Cover Solution

The Student PIRGs conducted this study to evaluate options from the traditional textbook market - rentals, e-books and e-readers - and  open textbooks as potential next steps to reduce the high cost of textbooks.  The report finds that student preferences vary widely, and that options like rentals and e-books only appeal to a subset of students.  Open textbooks have the highest potential as a solution because they can meet the needs of all students. 

> Keep Reading
News Release | Textbooks

New Laws, Free Books and Textbook Rentals Could Help Curb Rising Costs This Fall

BOSTON, Mass. (August 26, 2010) — Students across the country are gearing up for sticker shock over textbook prices this semester.  The average student spends $900 per year on textbooks, and new calculations by  WashPIRG Students show that costs have increased at an astounding rate: textbook wholesale prices have risen more than four times the rate of inflation over the last two decades (1990-2009).

> Keep Reading
News Release | Textbooks

New Federal Law Will Curb Skyrocketing Textbook Costs

A groundbreaking federal law designed to tackle the rapidly rising cost of textbooks has kicked in just in time to impact college students this fall.  The law, which was part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) passed by Congress in 2008, is considered the first major federal action on this issue.

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed