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

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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News Release | Textbooks

Groundbreaking State-Sponsored Program Will Save Students Millions On Textbooks, PIRG Analysis Finds

The Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges launched a library of low-cost course materials for the state's 42 highest-enrollment courses. An analysis conducted by the Student PIRGs finds that the program will pay for itself through textbook savings within a single year.

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News Release | Textbooks

'Textbook Rebellion' Launches Cross-Country Tour

The Textbook Rebellion kicked off a six-week, cross-country tour with events planned for 40 campuses nationwide.  At the tour stop, the University of Maryland, coalition members, students, faculty and a representative from the U.S. Department of Education were joined by the tour mascots, 'Mr. $200 Textbook' and 'Textbook Rebel,' to announce the launch.

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Blog Post | Textbooks

Ripoff 101: Tips for Saving on Textbooks

It's been 8 years since we launched a campaign to make textbooks more affordable. I’m impressed by the progress we’ve made, but there’s still much work to be done.

It’s buying season though, so before I give the rundown on the campaign, check out the NYT’s Guide to Finding Cheap Textbooks.

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News Release | Textbooks

High Prices Prevent College Students from Buying Assigned Textbooks

Skyrocketing textbook prices have driven many college students to risk their grades by foregoing assigned books according to new survey results.  This startling trend adds to mounting evidence that high college expenses can impact student success.

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