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

Blog Post | Higher Ed, Textbooks

Campus Textbook Survey | Student PIRGs

We're conducting a survey to get a better sense of the impacts of textbook costs on students. We'll publish a report on our findings later this year.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the short survey.

The more students who take the survey, the stronger the data will be, so please forward this email to your friends so they can participate too.

The survey will be open until Nov. 1.

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News Release | Student PIRGs | Textbooks

College Textbooks: Latest Trends and How to Save Money This Fall

As students across the country prepare to return to campus this fall, textbooks remain one of the priciest items on their shopping lists. However, several new developments suggest the textbooks market may be reaching a turning point. 

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News Release | Student PIRGs | Textbooks

GAO Report Finds Textbook Prices Continue To Skyrocket

College textbook prices increased three times the rate of inflation over the last decade according to a new report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).  Recent changes to federal law provide some relief to students, but more must be done to curb textbook costs permanently, it finds.

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Media Hit | Higher Ed, Textbooks

The great textbook robbery

A watchdog group called CALPIRG has issued a report called Ripoff 101, documenting that the giant publishers are raising prices of college texts at a rate three times higher than the prices of general books.

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Media Hit | Textbooks

Student creates website to track down cheapest textbooks available

As a junior business major, Matthew Ellis should supposedly be concerned with making himself a fortune — not saving others a fortune on their textbooks.

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