As prices for textbooks continue to climb, forcing many college kids to buy used editions or to go online to purchase discounted textbooks, new state legislation might make buying textbooks easier and a bit cheaper.
For example, a bill in the New York Senate would simply require college bookstores to put their inventory online, including ISBNs, providing students with easy access to information for the books they need. New York Senate Bill 6804 would also not allow stores to sell bundles—two or more books packaged together and unavailable separately—unless the bundles are ordered by the professor.
A similar bill in Illinois was introduced in January, but no action has yet been taken. The CM Bulletin, a publication for those in classification management, reports that 16 states have introduced 30 bills that would affect textbook affordability. However, very few are expected to pass, despite promising approvals in Virginia and Washington.
The Virginia House Bill 1478 calls for public universities and institutions to make changes that lower textbook costs, including selling parts of bundles separately. While it was approved by the House in January, the approval from the Senate on March 6 comes with revisions that soften the bill, requiring institutions to only “encourage” lower textbooks costs. After approval of the revision in the House, the bill will go to the governor.
House Bill 3087, in Washington State, only requires the components of bundles to be sold separately. It is currently waiting for approval from the governor.
Other legislation recently introduced includes the Connecticut House Bill 5527, which would require the University of Connecticut, Connecticut State University System and Community-Technical Colleges System to allow financial-aid students to purchase books on credit until they receive their aid funds. The same bill requires publishers to publicly post a list of all course materials that includes wholesale prices and the estimated length of time the book will be on the market.
While California passed a law in 2004 that urged universities and higher-education institutions to find lower-cost solutions for textbooks, legislators are not satisfied with the results so far. On Feb. 24, the California Senate Bill 1819 was introduced and, while the details have not been written, the bill states, “It is the intent of the legislature to enact additional legislation related to college textbooks.”
From The Book Standard