Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks prices are outrageous. Students spend an average of $1,200 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 are 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.  

The real momentum comes from lasting solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize the textbook market by offering free online access and reducing costs up to 80%. Open source textbooks are faculty-written and peer reviewed just like published textbooks, but they're available free online, free to download, and affordable in print.

So 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 give faculty the training and resources they need to adopt open-source textbooks and save students millions each year.

QUESTIONS? Contact Our National Campaign Staff here.

Issue updates

Big Banks Bigger Fees: A National Survey of Bank Fees and Fee Disclosure Policies

A survey of more than 350 bank branches reveals that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all. The report also includes a shopping guide, which will compare banking options, direct consumers to free and low-cost checking choices, and provide a list of fees that consumers should look out for when picking a bank.

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Report | Higher Ed

Obama’s Budget: Supporting Students, not Banks

A report by the USPIRG Higher Education Project estimates the impact of transferring $5 billion in student lender bank subsidies to Pell Grant recipients in each state.

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Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order.

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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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