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  • Make Textbooks Affordable | MASSPIRG Students
    major federal action on this issue Keep Reading Report Higher Ed Textbooks Course Correction The Student PIRGs conducted this study to determine how digital textbooks can live up to their potential as a solution Through a survey of 504 students from Oregon and Illinois and 50 commonly assigned textbook titles we confirm three fundamental criteria affordability printing options and accessibility We found that publishers digital e textbooks fail to meet these criteria and that an emerging form of digital textbooks open textbooks are a perfect match August 2008 Keep Reading News Release Higher Ed Textbooks Congress Moves to Cut Textbook Costs in Landmark Bill Marking the first major federal action to curb the skyrocketing cost of college textbooks Congress approved legislation today that will bring down prices for millions of students Keep Reading Report Textbooks Required Reading Over the last three years research conducted by the Student Public Interest Research Groups PIRGs and others have shown that textbooks are a growing cost of going to college These studies also have found that the textbook industry is using a host of practices that drive up the price of college textbooks In the fall of 2006 we interviewed faculty members walked through bookstores and interviewed bookstore staff to uncover textbooks that reveal six types of textbook industry gimmicks October 2006 Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 next last View All RSS Feed About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/campaigns/sp/make-textbooks-affordable?page=5 (2016-04-29)
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  • Make Textbooks Affordable | MASSPIRG Students
    research is in peril University budgets are decreasing while the cost of academic journals is skyrocketing As a result universities are unable to purchase vital journal subscriptions that help boost the quality and success of new academic research Fortunately new and innovative solutions are growing in popularity and have the potential to change the future of academic communication September 2005 Keep Reading Report Textbooks A Guide to Establishing Textbook Rental Services One innovative way to lower textbook costs is allowing students to rent rather than purchase their textbooks each semester This document is a twelve step guide for colleges and universities interested in lowering textbook costs for students by transitioning to a textbook rental service or exploring new innovative business models July 2005 Keep Reading Report Higher Ed Textbooks Ripoff 101 2nd Edition In order to both confirm our initial findings and to follow up on a number of anecdotal reports of additional problems with textbook pricing the State PIRGs conducted an expanded survey of the most widely purchased textbooks at 59 colleges and universities across the country February 2005 Keep Reading Pages first previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 View All RSS Feed About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/campaigns/sp/make-textbooks-affordable?page=6 (2016-04-29)
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  • Make Textbooks Affordable Updates | MASSPIRG Students
    out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a difference Get Info Students in Action Like Us Follow Us RSS Contact MASSPIRG Students in Action North Shore student Kaitlyn Heathman speaks at a press conference releasing our transportation report Common Connections Students support

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/node/246/content (2016-04-29)
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  • Tips to Save on Textbooks | MASSPIRG Students
    students who have your book With common classes you can often find books by just asking around Here are some other ideas if that doesn t work Try searching for postings on Facebook or Craigslist Check with your campus bookstore or student government for a local bookswap 5 Buy e textbook subscriptions Don t mind reading on a computer screen Don t plan to keep the book Got a high tech tablet like iPad or Kindle Then see if your textbook comes as an e textbook E textbook sites CourseSmart com BarnesandNoble com Kno com Buyer beware Our study on digital textbooks found that e textbooks had major drawbacks for a lot of students Before you buy here s what you need to know The average cost is 50 of a new book which isn t always a good deal compared to used books or renting E textbooks typically expire after 180 days so think of them as digital rentals Make sure to read the fine print for limits on printing and offline access 6 Look for coupon codes Many websites offer special deals and coupon codes that can save you 10 or more Try coupon websites like RetailMeNot com or cash back sites like Ebates com Also watch the Twitter and Facebook feeds of textbook retailers 7 Compare with the bookstore If you re buying books last minute you may not have much of a choice But even if you have other options make sure to see what the bookstores has to offer Here are some basic bookstore numbers to keep in mind Used books are typically 75 of the new price we ve found this to be higher than online prices but more consistent If a book is being used again next term the bookstore will usually buy it back for 50 of the new price If the bookstore doesn t know whether the book is being used again next semester they will buy books back for 10 30 of the new price sometimes less 8 Save your receipts A 2 500 federal tax credit is available to some students for their textbook purchases and other qualifying higher education expenses Click here for more information about the American Opportunity Tax Credit 9 If you re really stuck If you can t find your textbook at a price you can afford don t give up on doing well in the class Here are some ideas Check the library Some schools put copies of textbooks on reserve and if you re lucky you might get to check out a copy Ask your prof to borrow a copy Most professors receive at least one sample copy of the textbook Buy an older edition which are usually dirt cheap and get the new book s page numbers and workbook questions from a friend 10 Advocate affordable alternatives Finally the only way to change textbook prices in the long run is to get the word out about less expensive textbooks Free online open

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/resources/textbook-tips (2016-04-29)
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  • Make Textbooks Affordable: Recommendations to Faculty | MASSPIRG Students
    or custom books Discounted retail prices don t always work out to savings Before customizing to reduce costs make sure the price is less than used copies of the standard edition For e books keep in mind that students won t be able to sell them back at the end of the semester In many cases students can t even keep e books for future reference 2 Communicate with students before the semester starts A great way to help students find the best deals is to let them know about their assignments as early as possible When you get your class list send an email with the title author edition and ISBN for each book Also make sure to note whether any are optional and if using an older or unbundled edition is acceptable Tip Make the search for used books simpler by setting up a textbook list for your class on Listmania or BookLinkPro 3 Negotiate with publishers Since faculty are in charge of selecting textbooks they have economic leverage over publishers Even though the top concern is adopting the best book for a class faculty can pressure publishers to lower prices or create better deals for students Example In 2004 the UCLA math department negotiated a 25 price cut with Thomson Learning now Cengage Learning Tips for negotiating with publishers The larger the book order the more power you have Force publishers to compete by coordinating book adoptions with other instructors or even departments at other schools Increase competition Inform your reps which other lower cost titles you are considering Really turn up the heat by including an open textbook on the list Don t fall for publisher tricks Publishers sometimes try to make custom editions or bundles seems like a good deal but actually will end up costing students more Consider what the publisher is getting out of the deal and be sure to ask yourself how the price compares to used books and whether students will be able to sell it back at the end of the term Be persistent Faculty across the country are increasingly frustrated with high prices so publisher reps are trained to mitigate affordability concerns Don t settle too soon Also make sure to do the math before customizing a book to reduce the cost see above 4 Sign the Open Textbooks Statement Demonstrate your support for affordable alternatives like open textbooks by signing the Open Textbooks Statement of Intent More than 3 000 professors have signed to tell publishers universities and lawmakers that they intend to seek and consider open textbooks for use in their courses Click here to read the statement and add your name to the list 5 Tell your colleagues about affordable alternatives There are dozens of open textbooks and other affordable alternatives currently available but most faculty members haven t heard about them Our research shows that open textbooks can reduce costs 80 that s a total of 10 000 of savings for a 100 student class

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/resources/textbook-faculty-recommendations (2016-04-29)
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  • Federal Textbook Price Disclosure Law | MASSPIRG Students
    naturally a part of textbook sales the first step is to get that information on the table This provision gives professors the tools they need to identify and consider lower cost options the prices enable them to compare books apples to apples and the revision and format information can help them gauge whether a cheaper or older edition would be sufficient The vast majority 94 of the professors we surveyed said they d choose the less expensive of two equal options Although price disclosure will not transform the market overnight increased transparency and preference for lower cost texts will eventually compel publishers to respond with better books at fairer prices 2 Unbundling What it says Publishers are required to offer all bundled textbooks for sale as individual unbundled textbooks and supplemental items Textbooks with supplemental materials that are integrated into the content are exempt e g a CD with clips analyzed in a music text and publishers must unbundle custom textbooks to the maximum extent practicable Why it is necessary Bundling the common practice of shrink wrapping or packaging textbooks with other books or supplemental items including CDs workbooks and online passcodes inflates prices and makes used books harder to find and sell These items often go unused and thus do not contribute to the educational value of the text Research conducted by the Student PIRGs confirms that bundling is a common and costly practice About half of all textbooks are bundled and bundled textbooks are 10 50 more expensive than the textbook alone Two thirds 65 of professors reported they rarely or never use the supplemental items in bundled textbooks How it lowers costs Students have the option to purchase only the materials they need and they can save money by finding used copies of the individual components Additionally instructors also have the option to assign less expensive unbundled textbooks It s important to remember that bundling itself is not necessarily a bad practice The problem is that publishers have used it as a way to inflate prices and undermine the used book market The intent of the law is not to prohibit bundling but instead to ensure bundles are created for the right reasons Note It is possible that publishers will use the exemption for integrated textbooks to evade the unbundling requirement in some cases However given the clear legislative intent and the strength of the overall bill this should not be a major concern 3 Textbook List Disclosure What it says Colleges must provide the list of required and recommended textbooks for each course in the catalog students use during registration The list should include the following information International Standard Book Number ISBN or author title publisher copyright date Retail price The phrase To Be Determined if the information is unavailable Colleges may choose the manner in which they present the information but they must comply with this provision to the maximum extent practicable Why it is necessary Textbook costs are unpredictable one semester could total 100

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/resources/textbook-price-disclosure-law (2016-04-29)
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  • A Cover to Cover Solution | MASSPIRG Students
    was their preferred format 25 chose digital This finding mirrors a survey we conducted in 2008 which suggests that student attitudes have not changed significantly A combination of print and digital may be best for some students 47 of the students said they would be comfortable using at least one of the digital textbook formats To rent or to buy Most students would choose both 93 of the students would rent at least some of their textbooks but only 34 would rent all of them 2 Traditional cost reducing options have limited potential because they only appeal to a subset of students We used the student survey and textbook price data to estimate how much rentals e books and e readers could reduce the average amount students spend on textbooks per year 900 All three were less expensive than buying print textbooks but the savings are limited because the options do not appeal to all students Rentals are 61 less than new print textbooks on average and could reduce the average amount spent per year by 33 to 602 E textbooks are 52 less than new print books on average and could reduce the average amount spent per year by 8 to 830 E reader textbooks are 39 less than new print books on average and could reduce the average amount spent per year by 1 4 to 888 All three options combined could reduce the average amount spent per year by 34 to 598 3 Open textbooks can reduce costs for all students and have the potential for long term sustainability Open textbooks come in a range of affordable formats that accommodates all preferences and thereby extends the savings to all students Putting open textbooks to the same test as the traditional cost reducing options we found that the overall results would be dramatic Open textbooks could reduce the average amount spent per year by 80 to 184 Open textbooks a strong potential for savings but their success will depend on the development of sustainable publishing models Our study found that students are willing to purchase print copies and other optional items even though the full text of open textbooks is free online The sale of such products could serve as the foundation of innovative business models for publishers Recommendations This study demonstrates that the solution to textbook affordability must both reduce costs and address the diversity of student preferences The potential impact of rentals e textbooks and e readers is limited because they only match the preferences of a subset of students While such options can help reduce costs in the short term they cannot be a long term solution Open textbooks can reduce costs substantially and can accommodate the full spectrum of students Open textbooks are a comprehensive solution with a variety of affordable formats and purchasing options We therefore conclude that the next step toward textbook affordability is to promote the creation and adoption of open textbooks Now that the federal price disclosure law has made

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/cover-cover-solution (2016-04-29)
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  • Course Correction | MASSPIRG Students
    them for use offline and keep a copy for future use Anything less than complete access would make digital books impractical for large numbers of students with limited access to computers and or the internet 45 of the students we surveyed said limited computer access would make it at least somewhat difficult to use a digital textbook 71 said they have kept at least one textbook for future reference 2 Digital textbooks done wrong e textbooks fail to meet the criteria The first type of digital text we reviewed was e textbooks the digital book format offered by the major publishers through CourseSmart We found that they fall short on each of the three criteria we found digital textbooks must meet E textbooks are too expensive The e textbooks we surveyed cost on average exactly the same as a new hard copy of the same title bought and sold back to the bookstore and 39 more on average than a used hard copy of the same title bought and sold back online Printing is costly and difficult Printing was limited to 10 pages per session for each of the e textbooks we surveyed Buying and printing half of an e textbook was three times the cost of buying a used hard copy and selling it back to the bookstore for the books we surveyed E textbooks are difficult to access Students have to choose between using the book online or using it offline they cannot do both Most 75 of the e textbooks we surveyed expired after 180 days so students do not have the option to access their books in the future 3 Digital textbooks done right open textbooks meet all of the criteria Open textbooks are textbooks distributed free digitally under an open license The key feature of an open license is that it permits users to make copies of the textbook and translate it into different formats So open textbooks start as digital textbooks but can be printed in a variety of formats We found that open textbooks accomplish what e textbooks do not low prices printing options and accessibility Open textbooks are affordable Open textbooks are free digitally and students can purchase other formats at a low cost Open textbooks are easy and inexpensive to print Students can print digital textbooks anytime anywhere and in a variety of formats They can print individual pages at home order a print on demand bound copy or anything in between Open textbooks are accessible Students can access open textbooks anytime from any computer without the book expiring Recommendations Digital textbooks are a promising solution to lower costs but they need to be done the right way This study finds that digital textbooks need meet three main criteria in order to maximize their potential they must be affordable printable and accessible The two major players in the digital textbook right now e textbooks and open textbooks are examples of digital textbooks done the wrong way and digital textbooks done the

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/course-correction (2016-04-29)
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