BOSTON, Mass. (August 26, 2010) — Students across the country are gearing up for sticker shock over textbook prices this semester. The average student spends $900 per year on textbooks, and new calculations by Alpha PIRG Students show that costs have increased at an astounding rate: textbook wholesale prices have risen more than four times the rate of inflation over the last two decades (1990-2009).
A groundbreaking federal law designed to tackle the rapidly rising cost of textbooks has kicked in just in time to impact college students this fall. The law, which was part of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) passed by Congress in 2008, is considered the first major federal action on this issue.
One thousand professors from over 300 colleges in all 50 states released a statement today declaring their preference for high-quality, affordable textbooks, including open textbooks, over expensive commercial textbooks.
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.
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.