Feb 072008

Since 1986, textbook prices have been rising at four times the rate of inflation, and student leaders from across the state have had enough.

This morning, the Associated Students of Colorado held a rally in the state capital in support of a bill to help increase transparency within the textbook industry, which they say will lead to a decline in textbook prices.

If passed, the bill would require textbook companies to disclose, up front, the retail price of their books and, when printing new editions, to explain exactly what has changed between the new and previous version of the textbook.

Most significantly, though, publishing companies would no longer be able to offer textbooks exclusively in bundled packages with multimedia and other supplements. They would still be able to offer these “bundles,” but would also be required to offer the components separately.

Publishing companies are resistant to these types of changes, and they say there is plenty of transparency and that “de-bundling” is not necessary because there are plenty options for students, the most beneficial of which would be purchasing books online.

We, however, tend to agree with the ASC folks.

There is no reason that students should not be privy to the retail price from the publishers, and it is not unreasonable for students to know what exactly is “new” about a new edition of a text.

De-bundling makes even more sense. If a professor does not plan on using the extra materials, there is no reason to force students to buy them.

The ASC, it seems, is on to something. We can only hope the legislature will jump on board.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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