Make Textbooks Affordable

Everyone knows that textbooks costs are out of control. The average student spends $900 per year, and prices are rising four times the rate of inflation!

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 have all of the technology we need to make textbooks affordable. Already, there are rental programs at more than 1,500 colleges, hundreds of sites selling used books and more ways to save than ever before. There's also new solutions like open-source textbooks, which could literally revolutionize how much students pay for their books.

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 researchand 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

Blog Post | Textbooks

Big Day for Open Education!

Today was a big day in the movement for free and open textbooks! A conference call featuring U.S. Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter, CALPIRG textbook affordability activist Arthur Karadzhyan, and other leaders kicked off two exciting new initiatives for open education: 

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Resource | Textbooks

Federal Textbook Price Disclosure Law

Summary

The HEOA, short for the Higher Education Opportunity Act, is a higher education reform bill passed by Congress in 2008.  Among the many provisions in HEOA was a set of important regulations to help make textbooks affordable, which went into effect July 1, 2010

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Resource | Textbooks

Make Textbooks Affordable: Recommendations to Faculty

Summary

Faculty are in charge of selecting textbooks, which puts them in a key position to help students save money.  Follow these guidelines to help minimize costs.

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Resource | Textbooks

Tips to Save on Textbooks

Summary

Even though students are stuck paying publishers' outrageous prices, you do have a few tools to reduce how much you spend.  Being a smart consumer could save you hundreds of dollars every year.  Follow these tips to save on textbooks!

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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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