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

Resource | Textbooks

Make Textbooks Affordable: Recommendations to Faculty

Summary

Faculty are in charge of selecting textbooks, which puts them in a key position to help students save money.  Follow these guidelines to help minimize costs.

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Resource | Textbooks

Tips to Save on Textbooks

Summary

Even though students are stuck paying publishers' outrageous prices, you do have a few tools to reduce how much you spend.  Being a smart consumer could save you hundreds of dollars every year.  Follow these tips to save on textbooks!

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Groups target textbook prices to rein in college costs

A push to create free or inexpensive textbooks is gaining momentum as educators, philanthropists and policymakers nationwide search for new ways to rein in college costs.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Corporate, Democracy, Energy, Energy Service Corps, Higher Ed, Oceans, Sustainability, Textbooks, Transit

We Couldn't Have Done it Without You | Brian Moe

Thank you, and everyone we’ve worked with, for being part of WashPIRG and helping to accomplish a lot in 2011.

This year, WashPIRG students:

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