Something we’ve noticed over the years as a textbook company, is that textbooks have gotten less and less affordable. Why are textbooks so expensive? We don’t have four million dollar pictures of celebrity babies in them, so what gives? We’re not the only ones who’ve noticed. Anguished cries from broke students everywhere have been heard by Senator Dick Durban, and the Textbook Affordability Act is trying to right some wrongs.
The TL:DR of the bill is best summarized by Dick himself, “Access to Quality education—from pre-Kindergarten through higher education—should not be a luxury only for the wealthy…” Essentially this means that he wants the government to step in so that textbooks aren’t another thing flaunted by the rich kids of Instagram.
The bill plans to accomplish this by promoting “Open Educational Resources” that will be available to everyone at little to no charge. “Open Educational Resources” is like open source softwares that allow contributions from anyone qualified that ultimately leads to creating the best possible course materials. Imagine getting the opportunity to put just the good parts of the class into a textbook that you can freely share with anyone. MIT was the first to champion this idea by sharing all its course content for free. How’d you like if your textbooks taught like this?
You may ask yourself, “This is great and all, but why am I still paying $1,200-ish dollars a semester for books if this bill is supposed to protect me?” The short answer is capitalism, but that really sells it short. Really it’s because there isn’t an incentive to change. Professors don’t want to work for something that’s just given to them by publishers, and publishers are making way too much money to promote a free version of their stuff. So it’s up to students to make the change. We need to create an open education movement so that everyone, everywhere can have the opportunity and resources to better themselves. We’d suggest starting by contacting your local Senator here or here and let them know your thoughts.
Here at Campus Book Rentals we’re striving to make education affordable for everyone. That’s why we started renting textbooks back in 2007. Ten years later we’ve become pretty bad at internet memes, but really good at finding ways to save students money! That’s why we’re 100% behind the Textbook Affordability Act. We hope you’ll join us in revolutionizing how we do education!
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