The name Textbook Rebellion may seem a bit extreme, but IU students passing by the rally on their way to classes were eager to stop and sign petition protesting high textbook fees. Nicole Allen helped organize the event that is part of a national effort to reduce textbook costs.
“There are estimates that put about 80 percent of the market in the hands of five companies, so there’s not a lot of competition there,” Allen said.
Allen said professors don’t have to give up quality for cost.
“The good news is that now there are more affordable alternatives, and part of this campaign is just getting the word out about those alternatives.”
IU officials announced last week the school will provide one of those alternatives — e-textbooks. IU Vice President for Information Technology Brad Wheeler said the university is trying to accommodate students who prefer digital books because they are easily portable and tend to cost less.
“There was an article in the Chronicle of Higher Ed a couple of weeks ago saying 7 out of 10 students have not bought a required textbook sometime because of price concerns and that’s not a good way for us to achieve education for our students,” Wheeler said.
The Textbook Rebellion rally organizers say digital textbooks help prevent that problem. They say textbooks could eventually be free to students, but reducing the costs through online sources is a step in the right direction.