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.