Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,168 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 have been 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.  At the same time, lasting solutions like open-source textbooks are gaining traction, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%.

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 support the creation of more open-source textbooks that could save students millions each year.

Issue updates

Student Government Leaders Unite in Call for Federal Open Textbook Grant Program

Student government leaders of the undersigned colleges and universities write to Congress on the urgent need to address the skyrocketing price of textbooks, and a request to create a national open textbook pilot grants program in the FY18 appropriations bill.

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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.

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