Thursday, October 21st has been coined as the Affordable Textbooks Day Of Action. Students from over 40 campuses will speak out against expensive textbooks by hosting presentations, sending emails and talking with professors directly. This is part of the Student PIRGs, Make Textbooks Affordable campaign. The campaign has been in effect since 2003, and focuses on the following areas:
Passing Laws: As of July 1st, 2010 schools need to provide a list to students of the books required for their courses before classes begin. This allows students to have more time to explore other channels such as buying or renting textbooks online. Additionally, publishers will need to offer bundled items separately, allowing students to have more control over which items they choose to purchase for class.
Promoting Open Textbooks: Increasing the popularity of open textbooks is another primary initiative of the campaign. Instead of costing $150-$200 per textbook, open source textbooks allow students to download and read content for free.
Exposing the Problem: Getting the media to address the cost of expensive textbooks to raise awareness among the general American public is also critical. In fact, the campaign was mentioned in today’s New York Times article.
Promoting Used Books: Encouraging students to shop online for used textbooks, or by swapping with friends and classmates is great way for students to save money and to combat publishers who undermine the used book industry by releasing similar, but new editions of textbooks every couple years.
Establishing Rental Programs: Encouraging cost-saving textbook rental programs to become more prevalent on college campuses and online. On average, students who rent textbooks spend between $130-$240 per year opposed to $900 spent by students who buy; a savings of about $700.