Recently, at California Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo, high textbook prices pushed one student to the brink. First-year environmental management student Dan Canella created a Reddit page named The Great Cal Poly Textbook Repository, filled with numerous PDFs of Cal Poly textbooks for student to access. Not surprisingly, this received swift criticism from publishers, who deemed Canella’s page a breach of copyright.
According to Mustang News, Canella received a letter from a law firm representing major textbook companies, demanding that he take the page down immediately, along with any copies of the illegally distributed textbooks. Canella had uploaded more than 100 PDF files before the take-down notice, but promptly capitulated to the order.
“It’s a captive market. You have no other option,” Canella said in an interview with Mustang News. “You must have a textbook or, you know, good luck passing your class.”
Not to excuse the actions of Canella — they were clearly illegal and in breach of copyright — but time and time again, we see students going to extreme measures to get some relief from the oppressive pricing practices of the $10B textbook industry.
At XYZ Textbooks, we understand students’ needs and their struggle to pay for course materials. It’s a core tenet of our mission: Affordable access to course materials increases students’ chances of success. Incidents like this one are a cry for help — when will it start to truly motivate instructors, administrators, and yes, even textbook companies, to look out for what’s best for students? High-quality textbooks at an affordable price are possible — we’re proving it every day.
If you agree that we should all be taking a more active role in helping students, and you want to support a small business that’s proving that there is another way — all it takes is one small action. Adopt an XYZ Textbook now. That’s all it takes. You won’t be disappointed.