To the editor:
Earlier this month, following the end of a semester cut short by COVID-19, I made the 12 hour one-way trek from Minnesota back to my campus in Ohio in part to move myself out of my dorm, and, more pressingly, to return the 20 or so textbooks I purchased from the campus bookstore with the school’s book buyback program.
However, when I trudge my overflowing backpack into the store, I was told this semester’s buyback program was canceled, leaving me with books I frankly had no desire to keep and without the hundreds upon hundreds of dollars that would’ve helped me afford books for next semester. I’m hardly the first person to be burned by the staggering economic burden of college textbooks, the costs of which have ballooned at a much faster rate than even college tuition, with people I know having to make sacrifices regarding which books to buy, which majors to take, and even which meals to skip because of these costs.
A clear solution to this is investing in open textbooks, which level the playing field of education by making course materials available to all students for free. Campaigns for open textbooks, like that of the Student PIRGs, seek to protect students from a predatory publishing industry that poses undue barriers to education.