Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and course materials, and prices have been rising more than for 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 we're making progress. Students can save hundreds through discounted options like renting, used books and bookswaps on campus.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally 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.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

How students are engaging textbook companies in a duel against high prices, and winning

Before entering the classroom of an intro-level economics course, students get a real-life experience with the subject — the required textbook costs $290 on Amazon.

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Student PIRGs | Higher Ed, Textbooks

Affordable Textbooks: A Policy Guide

A guide to policy on textbook affordability through the development of open-source textbooks.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

Students press profs to open minds to cheaper textbooks

Washington college students are trying to get more professors to adopt open textbooks, which are often free and widely available online.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

Inflation in textbook prices deflates student interest

The high cost of textbooks caused Point Park students like Anna Dobbins, Akilah Brooks and Alexandria Bright to turn to the age-old practice of sharing.

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