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New Jersey Public Interest Research (NJPIRG) shared money-saving tips with students and collected signatures for a petition in support of low-cost textbook solutions on Friday.
The event, called the "Textbook Rebellion" and held on the steps of Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus, was part of a national tour of 40 campuses that aims to bring awareness about the high costs of textbooks to college students.
"We really want to go to these campuses and raise awareness on textbook prices and advocate for solutions and alternatives," said Nicole Allen, a state NJPIRG representative.
The Textbook Rebellion promoted open textbooks — books published online under a license that allows everyone free access to download and print the text, she said.
"Students can choose to use them free online or buy them in print for $20 to $40, which would save them about 80 percent on average compared to buying traditional textbooks," Allen said.
Open textbooks are already available for dozens of courses like Economics 101, Calculus and Chemistry, she said. Since many of the authors just want more exposure for their work, the books are priced much cheaper.
The petitions at the event had an action box that students were encouraged to sign, which would allow NJPIRG to send emails to professors and faculty providing them with information about the benefits of using open textbooks.
"We will be able to use the students' signatures to send an email to up to 10 professors on campus with info about low-cost textbooks in their course," Allen said. "It will show that there is support among the student body for cheaper general."
NJPIRG representatives said publishing companies make too many unnecessary new editions to textbooks, causing students to buy new textbooks too often.
"Calculus hasn't changed in 100 years, yet every single year the publishing companies are coming up with new editions because they want to make more money," Farino said.
Students passing by the event said they were drawn to the large mascots, one dressed as an expensive textbook and the other as an open book.
Many students who passed the event expressed concern about the money they had to spend on textbooks for their courses and thought student life would be easier if prices were lower.
"The exorbitant prices of our textbooks really decrease the student life on campus, and having less costly books would really make student life easier and more affordable," said Upamanyu Mukhopadmyay, a computer science graduate student.
School of Arts and Sciences senior Nikhil Divakar wants professors to learn about the advantages of open textbooks.
"Bringing the solutions to our professors is a good idea and after hearing about the positives of open textbooks, I really want more professors to learn about them and show support to using more of them," he said.
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