Work with us for Affordable Textbook Prices!

Tired of outrageous textbook prices? Can't sell back any of your books? Can't find any used books? Sick of all the extra CD-ROMs and workbooks that you don't ever use? We're fighting back against textbook ripoffs and we're making progress. Join our national student campaign and fight for affordable textbooks!

Everyone knows that textbooks are expensive. Students spend an average of $900 a year on textbooks, which is 20% of tuition at an average university and half of tuition at a community college! And the prices keep going up. Textbook prices have increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994! But why are textbooks so expensive and what can be done about it? We've done a lot of research over the last few years, and here's what we've discovered:

Unnecessary New Editions Make Used Books Disappear and Force Students to Pay More
Want to know why it's so hard to find used books? Because publishers constantly produce new editions of textbooks every 3 and a half years - even in fields like calculus and intro physics that haven't changed significantly in years. Once a new edition is put out, the faculty and the bookstore have no choice but to stop using the old edition. Download fact sheets with examples of these kinds of books.

Extra CD-ROMs and Workbooks Drive Up Prices and Make Books Harder to Resell
All that extra stuff that gets shrink-wrapped to the textbook make textbooks 10% to 50% more expensive. Bundles can also make it harder to sell back your books, because a lot of bookstores can't buy back the book if the CD-ROM is missing or if the workbook or web passcode is used.

Most Professors Do Not Approve of these Practices
76% of the professors we surveyed thought that new editions were justified "half the time or less" and 65% of the professors we surveyed said that they used the bundled items "rarely or never"! The problem is so bad that over 700 math and physics professors have asked Thomson Learning to stop issuing unnecessary new editions of their introductory math and physics books.


What Should Be Done?

Bottom line, we think that textbooks should be reasonably priced, students should be able to easily sell their books and used books should be easy to find. Here is what we think publishers, faculty and universities should do to make this happen:

  • Publishers should keep the cost of producing their books as low as possible without sacrificing educational content.
  • Publishers should keep textbook editions on the market as long as possible without sacrificing the educational content.
  • Publishers should give preference to paper or online supplements over producing entirely new editions.
  • Publishers should always allow professors to order unbundled textbooks.
  • Publishers should clearly and proactively disclose all of their products, prices and length of time they will be on the market.
  • Publishers should pass on any cost-savings from digital books to students.
  • Faculty should give preference to the cheapest textbooks and unbundled textbooks when there's no impact on educational content.
  • There should be as many forums for students to purchase many used books as possible. Universities should consider rental programs of such as those as several universities in Wisconsin and Illinois and encourage students to consider using online book swaps.

What Can I Do?

Last year, UCLA students got so mad about textbook prices that they started a campaign. They kicked up a stink and worked with their Math Department to pressure Thomson Learning to cut the price of their calculus books by 20%! Around the country, students and professors are fighting back. They're refusing to buy books from publishers unless they're cheaper, unbundled and on the market for longer. They're ordering cheaper books from British web sites. They're trading books with each other at online book swaps like CampusBookSwap.com. Publishers are feeling the heat: they're putting out lower priced books and negotiating deals with faculty who push. The best way to help is to join the campaign!


OUR GOALS: 1) To get an SGA Resolution passed supporting the Affordable Textbooks Bill. 2) Media Coverage of Bill and corresponding meetings and events. 3) Textbook Buyback alternatives: Make them Visible.

AFFORDABLE TEXTBOOKS BILL: The hearing for Representative Walsh's Affordable Textbooks Bill will take place this October in Boston. Therefore early next fall will be an important time to get the word out about the Bill, and show legislators how much support is behind it.


MARCH 7, 2007: Campus Center Tabling Event to gain student support for Textbooks Bill. In total we got over 500 students support.

MARCH 16, 2007: Met with Senator Stanley Rosenberg to tell him about the Affordable Textbooks Bill and got his support.

APRIL 13, 2007: Met with Amherst Representative Ellen Story to tell her about the Affordable Textbooks Bill which she strongly supports.


Contact: taylormagic33@hotmail.com

To Learn More: www.maketextbooksaffordable.com