According to College Board college textbook and supply costs average $1200 per year. Some efforts to address these costs include:
A 2013 survey of 2039 students conducted by Student PIRGs found that 65% of college students reported not buying at least one textbook because of cost.
Buying Used Textbooks
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that buying while used textbooks is an option for many students, factors such as updated editions, special editions for a particular school or availability of used editions may make this option unworkable for many students.
The National Association of College Stores (NACS) data on textbook rentals show that of the college bookstores in the U.S. which answered questions about textbook rentals in the 2011-2012 survey, 78% reported offering some textbook rentals. The NACS report points out that textbook rental income was a very low percentage of income for the college bookstores—averaging 2% per store.
Using Open Textbooks
Open textbooks are online textbooks which are available for free. The University of Minnesota maintains an online catalogue of open textbooks as does the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. The College Open Textbooks Collaborative has made 100 peer-reviewed textbooks available for free use by community colleges and two-year colleges in a variety of disciplines.
College Board. Quick Guide: College Costs. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/quick-guide-college-costs
College Open Textbooks Collaborative. Who are We. About College Open Textbooks. http://www.collegeopentextbooks.org/about-us/who-are-we
Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. http://oerconsortium.org/discipline-specific/
National Association of College Stores. Higher Education Retail Market Facts & Figures, 2013. https://www.nacs.org/research/industrystatistics/higheredfactsfigures.aspx
Redden, M. News. Students. “7 in 10 Students Have Skipped Buying a Textbook Because of Its Cost, Survey Finds.” Chronicle of Higher Education. August 23, 2011. https://chronicle.com/article/7-in-10-Students-Have-Skipped/128785/
Senack, T. The Student PIRGS January 2014. “ Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: How Students Respond To High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives.” U.S. PIRG Education Fund & The Student Public Interest Research Groups. http://uspirg.org/sites/pirg/files/reports/NATIONAL%20Fixing%20Broken%20Textbooks%20Report1.pdf
Student PIRG’s. Open Textbooks Catalog. http://www.studentpirgs.org/open-textbooks/catalog