Fixing the Broken Textbook Market

How Students Respond to High Textbook Costs and Demand Alternatives

The cost of college textbooks has skyrocketed in recent years. To students and families already struggling to afford high tuition and fees, an additional $1,200 per year on books and supplies can be the breaking point. As publishers keep costs high by pumping out new editions and selling books bundled with software, students are forced to forgo book purchases or otherwiseundermine their academic progress. In recent years, some steps have been taken to provide relief from runaway costs. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 requires publishers to disclose textbook prices to professors during the marketing process, and for students to see textbook prices during course registration! Short-term cost-reducing options: Recently, publishers have increased cost-saving options like e-textbooks. Rental programs and used book markets have also emerged as more consumer-friendly options to new books. According to the National Association of College. Stores, more than 3,000 schools offer rental programs, up from 300 in 2009. Unfortunately, since the price of rental, used, and e- books is dictated by the price of the new print edition, these models can only take us so far.

Florida PIRG Education Fund

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