Monday, March 05, 2007

Madison Package Slams University Textbook Tricks


Senator Sue Madison of Fayetteville has been known to be "University Friendly" during her terms of office. She even gave the U of A all of her General Improvement Fund Money last go-round. If the Universities are engaging in practices that have her riled up then it stands to reason that they are engaging in practices that are way out of line.

Text book prices are spiraling out of control, not because of the free market, but because of things the Universities are doing to subvert the free market. These practices allow them to make a substantial profit from their books over and above what they could make in a free market. After all the money that the state and the people have thrown at the university system, it strikes one as unseemly and rapacious for them to squeeze an extra $350 or so each semester from each student over and above normal textbook prices. Senator Madison filed a number of bills to curtail such practices by the colleges, three of which are up for committee vote today:

-SB 22, which would prohibit state colleges and universities from selecting textbooks that can only be bought in a bundle with one-time use items like workbooks and CD-ROMS and requiring purchases of a new bundle each year for the same class.

-SB 23, which would prohibit use of textbooks where pages have to be removed, destroying their resale value.

-SB 25, which would prohibit higher education institutions from using textbooks that have been lightly modified to make them unique to the institution - and therefore largely without value in a multistate textbook market.

3 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

In the interests of disclosure, I am considering partnering with someone in a project where we are involved with the textbook business on some level.

5:25 AM, March 05, 2007  
Blogger Jared said...

As a student at UCA (the center of uncontrollable growth), I applaud the Senator's efforts. My textbook prices range from 350-500 dollars a semester, and I am one of the lucky ones. My wife, a Biology major, often pays closer to 700-800 dollars on books alone. When the semester is over, the campus bookstore and the Barnes and Noble affiliated stores across the street from campus offer ridiculously low buy-back prices, often claiming that "that book won't be used next semester, I'll give you $5." More than three times I have seen the same book I sold back for five dollars used the very next semester. In one occasion the professor of the course assured me he was using the same book the next semester and had informed the stores of this, but they still only offered me a dismal amount and claimed that it wouldn't be used. There is corruption on many levels here. Class-specific workbooks are required by professors that wrote them, and they have absolutely no value at the end of the semester. Any effort to ease the financial burden that students face (which is already heavy enough) should be supported.

8:05 PM, March 05, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've bought books written by professors that were so written in order to save students money. No, they may not have as high of resale value, but in some technical fields of study, selling a book back is a rare occurrence-- such books are usually kept for future reference. Thus, the cheaper the original price, the better.

7:06 PM, March 06, 2007  

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