Students are the most affected by the high price of textbooks, so your voices are important in the struggle for more affordable textbooks. This page is dedicated to help you and your fellow students become involved in the push for textbook affordability by providing a list of ways you can help out!
Choose the best textbook deals and send a message to publishers
Visit TAP’s Buy at the Best Price page for a list of several online retailers that rent and sell new, used, and electronic textbooks.Use smart shopping strategies to find the best deals on your textbooks:
- Consider all of your buying options
- Swap and sell textbooks locally with other students
- Avoid overpriced materials
- Buy from the retailers and renters that provide the cheapest prices
Ask your professors to help
Professors have the power to select which textbooks they use for their classes, and it does not only determine how much a student spends, but also how much a publisher will sell. They are important allies in the battle for reduced textbook costs and they can help in various ways. Ask if they would be willing to:
- Make required textbook selections as early as possible.
- Allow multiple editions of a textbook in appropriate courses.
- Avoid textbook bundles if the course does not require the entire bundle.
- Place professors’ extra copies of textbooks on Reserve in the USF library.
- Work with the USF Library to identify educational materials that are already available in the university library or online, including open access textbooks.
- Sign textbook affordability petitions, such as the Faculty Statement on Open Textbooks, which is sponsored by Student PIRGS.
Visit the Student PIRGS website and sign up with their affordable textbook campaign to support cheaper textbook alternatives such as used books, rentals, and open-access textbooks. They also have a great selection of resources to help you start your own advocacy group or connect with already existing ones in your area!
Form a group with a unified voice
In a group, your message will be stronger and have a greater potential to reach more people. You can help out in the fight against overpriced textbooks by:
- Creating your own advocacy group to raise awareness.
- Organizing a coalition with other groups on USF campuses to help extend your exposure. Not only can they help recruit volunteers, distribute information, co-sponsor events, and provide access to a different range of demographics among students and faculty.
- Working with the USF student government and faculty senate bodies to send a strong message. By passing resolutions, both of the bodies have the ability to express their official positions on the issue.
Reach out to the public about the issues
There are many people who are unaware of textbook publisher practices and the rapidly increasing prices of textbooks. Take the initiative and raise awareness around the issue by:
- Organizing fun and creative events on your campus during the beginning and end of semesters, times when high textbook costs are hurting students the most.
- Informing your local news station about your organized events. They may run a story about the event and greatly increase its exposure!
- Writing to your local newspaper’s opinion section. By getting your opinion out in a public and highly visible space, you can help raise awareness through a large audience that may not be aware of the issue.
Start your own on-campus textbook swapping group
- Timing is everything: the best time to organize a textbook swap is about a week before the start of a new semester.
- Find a sponsor: get an on-campus department, or student organization to sponsor the event.
- Get the word out: use social media, flyers, and the campus newspaper to spread the word.
- Make it a social event: create a fun atmosphere for other students to bring their textbooks. Be sure to play music and bring snacks!
- Keep it fair: create a system that allows students to swap for items that are close in value to their own.