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

News Release | Textbooks

Seven Hundred Physics and Math Professors from Over One Hundred Universities Call on Thomson Learning to Stop Unnecessary Textbook Revisions

As a prominent publisher continues to issue "new" editions of textbooks that are not significantly "new", hundreds of college physics and mathematics professors issued a joint call to action. The call to action was sparked by the latest research from the Student PIRGs that found that new textbook revisions reduce the availability of used books, which are 45% cheaper than new books.

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Ripoff 101: 2nd Edition

In order to both confirm our initial findings and to follow up on a number of anecdotal reports of additional problems with textbook pricing, the State PIRGs conducted an expanded survey of the most widely purchased textbooks at 59 colleges and universities across the country. (February 2005)

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News Release | Textbooks

New Report Shows College Textbook Costs Increasing Sharply Ahead of Inflation

College textbook prices have increased at nearly four times the rate of inflation for all finished goods since 1994 and textbook publishers engage in practices that artificially inflate textbook costs, according to a new study by the Student PIRGs. With textbook costs already high - an average of $900 a year, or a fifth of tuition at a public four year university - the Student PIRGs called on publishers to stop needlessly inflating textbook costs.

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News Release | Textbooks

New Report Shows College Textbooks are "Ripoff 101"

University professors and students from around the country came together today to release a new report which finds that textbook publishers engage in a number of market practices that drive up the price of textbooks for students.
 
 

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