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Exorbitant Costs Spur Launch of National ‘Textbook Rebellion’

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  • 1. Exorbitant Costs Spur Launch of National ‘Textbook Rebellion’ Coalition rallies supporters to sign petition urging alternatives to $200 textbooksBOSTON, MA, IRVINGTON, NY – (Marketwire - April 6, 2011) –TextbookRebellion.org, a national campaign to promote alternatives to sky-high pricedcollege textbooks, today announced its official launch with a website and tools forindividuals and groups to get involved and organize local rebellions on their campuses.Through an online petition drive, social media and campus events, the TextbookRebellion aims to raise awareness of the textbook affordability crisis and a growingnumber of alternatives that relieve students of the perennial problem of spiraling textbookcosts. Chief among the new options are open textbooks that are licensed to be free onlineand affordable in print and digital formats. Other choices range from the e-reader model,textbook rental and loan programs and websites for used books.Sponsored by the Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups), a national networkof non-profit student advocacy groups, and Flat World Knowledge, the largest publisherof free and open college textbooks, the Textbook Rebellion expects to enlist the supportof thousands of students and campus associations, as well as parents, faculty,administrators, legislators, and creators of open textbooks and open educationalresources.“This is an important issue and students and teachers need to get involved,” said JanelleWilliams, a sophomore at the City College of New York. “Students who go to school herehave to work to pay their tuition. It’s not right that books cost so much.”A Textbook Rebellion campus tour across New York State and throughout the U.S. isplanned for spring and fall. Events held recently drew crowds at Brooklyn College,Columbia University, New York University, the State University of New York at Purchaseand King’s College. Urging the students on were giant characters in costume—TextbookRebel (“TR”), the campaign’s protagonist in yellow tights and a red cape, who seeks fairtextbook prices for students—and his nemesis, 10-foot tall Mr. $200 Textbook, a greedy,cigar-chomping mogul epitomizing the exorbitant prices and unsustainable businesspractices of the traditional textbook industry.The College Board reports that students are spending an average of $1,137 for textbooksand supplies this academic year. A new financial accounting textbook can cost $150-$200. For students at community colleges, the cost of textbooks and supplies as apercentage of tuition and fees is 72 percent; 26 percent for students attending a four-yearpublic college, according to estimates by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.“For years, a handful of powerful textbook publishers have monopolized the industry anddriven up costs four times the rate of inflation,” said Nicole Allen, Textbooks Advocatefor the Student PIRGs. “Better options are out there. Between used books, rental
  • 2. 2programs and long-term alternatives like open textbooks, we have the tools we need tomake textbooks affordable for more students.”“In the midst of rising tuition costs, shrinking education budgets and a strugglingeconomy, the Textbook Rebellion is a way for individual and groups to speak out againstskyrocketing textbook prices,” said Eric Frank, president and co-founder of Flat WorldKnowledge. “Anyone who cares about lowering higher education costs and increasingaccess for all students is invited to join the Textbook Rebellion.”For more information or to show your support, visit www.textbookrebellion.org; followus on Facebook at www.facebook.com/textbookrebellion and on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/#!/textbookrebel. Or email us at join@textbookrebellion.org.TextbookRebellion.org is a coalition of students, parents, professors and organizationsinspired to take action against the skyrocketing cost of college textbooks and promoteaffordable alternatives, such as open textbooks that are licensed to be free online andaffordable offline.The Student PIRGs is a national network of non-profit, non-partisan student advocacygroups that work on public interest issues pertaining to the environment, consumerprotection and government reform. For the last eight years, the Student PIRGs MakeTextbooks Affordable campaign has led a national movement against rising textbookprices through research, advocacy and grassroots organizing.Flat World Knowledge, Inc. is the largest publisher of free and open college textbooksfor students worldwide. Committed to making higher education more affordable andaccessible, the company provides students with free online access to complete, peer-reviewed textbooks, with options to purchase affordable print and digital formats,including e-books, audio books, PDF downloads and interactive study aids. Flat World’sopen license and online editing platform enable professors to modify the content andcreate the “perfect book” for their course. To date, more than 1600 professors at over 900colleges in 44 countries have used Flat World open textbooks. Backed by top venturecapital firms, Flat World Knowledge was named along with Apple, Facebook and Googleas one of the information industry’s "30 to Watch" in 2011 by Outsell, Inc.A Brooklyn College student signs the petition supporting affordable textbooks as the Textbook Rebel cheershim on.
  • 3. The Textbook Rebel and Mr. $200 Textbook prepare to square off before a rally in New York. # # #