Friday, September 21, 2007

College Textbook Affordability Act

I wonder how many votes these legislators expect to gain from legislating capitalism - at least as it pertains to textbook pricing. Ex-academic and now Californian Democratic state senator Ellen Corbett notes a particularly poignant and, yes, unique excuse for not finishing a class assignment.
"One of my students told me they were not going to finish their homework because they couldn't afford the textbook," she said. "That stopped me dead in my tracks and broke my heart."
No doubt the student received a passing grade for creative writing but an F for initiative. Corbett is sponsoring a state senate bill that will attempt to regulate textbook prices:
"For too long, California college students have dealt with outrageous textbook costs. Publishers set the cost, faculty makes the choice and students pay the price," Corbett said. "It is time for the textbook publishing industry to level with their consumers and end their deceptive marketing practices." If passed, Senate Bill 832 would take effect in January and require publishers to fully disclose to faculty their wholesale or retail costs, an estimation of how long the book is expected to stay current, and a breakdown of differences between current and past editions.
Textbook pricing and the publishers are an easy target and provide an annual respite from dealing with truly important issues like (in the case of CA) a mammoth budget deficit and (topically) rising tuition fees. On the other hand, here is something that is sure to please students and could provide for the budget deficit: Legalize it!

1 comment:

Robert said...

The textbook pricing 'issue' is tailor-made for politicians - all style, no substance. Ridiculous legislation will be passed, backs will be patted, and nothing much will change.