We do frequent price surveys to get a sense of what textbooks US college students are buying, and I’m perpetually astounded at the high price of textbooks. Last I checked, textbook prices were growing at four times the rate of inflation, costing students almost a thousand dollars a year.
I’d love to say that BookFinder.com is the magic answer to students’ textbook woes, but it’s not. There are larger systemic issues involved here: lack of adequate cost data available to faculty, the uptick in the publication of new editions, the bundling of often-unused add-on products, and increased use of techniques that make used textbooks largely non-resaleable (one-time-use online services, custom publishing). And sometimes, just old-fashioned price hikes.
|Fall 2008 college textbook savings at BookFinder.com|
Iowa State, English 10
Iowa State, Sociology 134
Duke, Political Science 141D
Duke, Jewish Studies 100
UC Berkeley, Computer Science 61A
UC Berkeley, Sociology 5
So yeah, go ahead, use BookFinder.com for textbooks; we can help students find great prices. But making real change takes effort, and civic, student, and consumer organizing—which is where the Campaign to Reduce College Textbook Costs comes in. Run by a group of state PIRG organizations, the Campaign’s been doing excellent work documenting and analyzing the issue, providing access to research, and trying to push and track textbook affordability policies and legislation. The textbook affordability measures in HR4137 are a start, but there’s much more to do.
[Now reading: What is the What by Dave Eggers]Posted by Anirvan