By Mark Abrams

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — A student organization on the Rutgers-Camden campus is encouraging professors to buy-in to the concept of free books for their students.

Megan Bart, campus organizer for the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group, says textbook companies are gouging students for both print and on-line versions of their products.

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“Students spend about $12,000 a year on textbooks,” Bart said. “Sometimes they can’t afford to, especially students here at Camden, where they’re spending a lot of their time working to just pay their basic tuition.”

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She says there are thousands of free or open source books on the market that professors could use that can ease the financial crunch for their students.

“We encourage faculty members to use the resources that the library is already paying for and to assign those for their students so their students don’t take on extra costs,” said Zara Wilkinson, a research librarian for the Rutgers-Camden library.

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The Camden campus is holding an Open Textbook Network workshop in November and offering 12 grants totalling $1,000 each to encourage faculty to explore the subject.