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

Report | Student PIRGs | Textbooks

Open Textbooks: The Billion Dollar Solution

New report shows alternative textbook model could save students a billion dollars.

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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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Blog Post | Textbooks

Big Day for Open Education!

Today was a big day in the movement for free and open textbooks! A conference call featuring U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, CALPIRG textbook affordability activist Arthur Karadzhyan, and other leaders kicked off two exciting new initiatives for open education: 

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Resource | Textbooks

Federal Textbook Price Disclosure Law

Summary

The HEOA, short for the Higher Education Opportunity Act, is a higher education reform bill passed by Congress in 2008.  Among the many provisions in HEOA was a set of important regulations to help make textbooks affordable, which went into effect July 1, 2010

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