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 | Textbooks

Exposing the Textbook Industry

Today's college students are under enormous financial pressure. The gap between tuition and fees and financial aid leaves many students working long hours through college, struggling to make ends meet, and graduating with large debts. The high cost of textbooks is yet another financial burden. MASSPIRG conducted a survey of 287 professors from a variety of disciplines at Massachusetts colleges and universities over the fall semester of 2006 to get their views on textbook industry practices that drive up prices. (February 2007)

> Keep Reading
News Release | Textbooks

New Report Exposes Publishing Industry Tactics That Drive Up the Cost of College Textbooks

Students are still paying too much for their textbooks, as book prices skyrocket at four times the rate of inflation, according to the new report from the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group. The report highlights one major cause for the artificially high prices – publishers don’t provide clear information about their prices to faculty.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Textbooks

New Report Details Latest Examples of Textbook Ripoffs

A new report, released today by The Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign, presents new case studies of how the college textbook publishing industry deliberately undermines the used book market and inflates prices. Based upon surveys and interviews of bookstore managers and university faculty across the country, the report – “Required Reading: A Look at the Worst Publishing Tactics at Work” – identifies specific textbooks that employ types of publishing tactics, and illustrates how they inflate the cost of textbooks for students.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Textbooks

GAO Report Finds Textbook Prices Skyrocketing

A new report by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirms previous research conducted by the Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs) into textbook prices. The GAO report, requested by Congressman David Wu last year, found that textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades, an average of 6 percent each year since 1987-1988, compared with overall price increases of 3 percent per year.

> Keep Reading
Report | Textbooks

Limited Knowledge

The future of academic research is in peril. University budgets are decreasing while the cost of academic journals is skyrocketing. As a result, universities are unable to purchase vital journal subscriptions that help boost the quality and success of new academic research. Fortunately, new and innovative solutions are growing in popularity and have the potential to change the future of academic communication. (September 2005)

> Keep Reading

Pages

View AllRSS Feed