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CSUN student petitioning for textbook companies to lower prices


Marcos Castro, CTVA major, stands on Matador Walk holding his petition to bring down college textbook prices. He, along with friends, plans to return throughout November and December to gain signatures for a cause he says "students can get behind." Photo Credit: Braulio Campos / Daily Sundial

Tired of the rising cost of education?

CTVA major Marcos Castro said that’s why he’s looking for signatures for a petition demanding textbook companies lower their prices.

“They’re the ones naming the prices, and the schools can’t do anything about it,” Castro said, as he set up his table along Matador Walk. “The bookstore has to sell at these prices in order to turn a profit, so changing the price at the textbook companies is where we need to start.”

Castro is an intern at CALPIRG, an organization that advocates issues on behalf of Californians. He chose this petition project for his internship’s campaign.

The ultimate goal is a push for ‘open’ textbooks — e-book versions of textbooks provided free to students, Castro said.

“They are freeware, and considering the popularity of e-readers like Kindle and iPad, they have the ability save students a lot of money,” Castro said.

Free texts could also be printed and viewed from a computer, Castro added.

CALPIRG will send the petition to major textbook companies once the signatures are turned in. Castro set a goal for himself to get 200 signatures.

“There’s no set rules,” he said. “It’s just get as (many) as you can.”

Castro plans to come back to Matador Walk again at the end of November and gather more support in December.

Petitioning dates will be posted on his Facebook group’s page “Make Textbooks More Affordable!”


  1. Joe Horner Nov 28, 2011

    Something most students never think about is simple economics – the entire industry is at a given level.  For prices to be reduced one of several things would have to happen: textbook publishers (and their stock buyers, your parents?) would need accept lower profits, given the trend of most corporations that would lead to layoffs.  If you take away the multi-billion dollar textbook industry what is going to replace it?  Furthermore, market research shows that 70% of students still purchase and sell back their books to their local bookstore.  They could be saving hundreds each semester using a price comparison website like RentScouter that will help them find the best price whether buying or selling a book.  I am a former student that paid my way through school so I definitely understand the pain of high textbook prices, but the problem is much more complex than just “lowering prices” or “free textbooks” as someone is likely going to want to be paid for writing those textbooks.

  2. Old Glory Nov 28, 2011

    I agree. When I attended Pierce my classes were lower than the cost of the book for the class. Publishers are running a scam in that they update books every few years with no new information. I had an instructor insist we buy the new version and even went so far at to visually check that we had the new version. At the end of the semester we never covered the new material in the book. Can someone say kickback.

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