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

In fight for more affordable education, look to core classes

WASHINGTON, DC- Earlier today, the Student PIRGs released a new report investigating high textbook prices for common courses at schools across the country. Entitled Open 101: an Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks, the report contains recommendations that, if enacted, could save students billions of dollars.

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Report | Textbooks

Open 101: An Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks

This new report investigates high textbook prices for common courses at schools across the country and contains recommendations that, if enacted, could save students billions of dollars.

> Keep Reading
Media Hit | Textbooks

A New Cost at College: Digital Access Codes

DIGITAL books and study tools don’t weigh down backpacks as heavy textbooks do. But fees for the codes to get them may be a financial burden for some college students, a new report found.

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