Finally, good news for textbook prices

This semester is nearing completion. Soon enough, students will notice those annoying signs around campus urging them to sell their books back to the UT Student Bookstore for extra money. These recurring signs offend any students who have previously taken the advertised advice, finding out that their books, no matter the condition, were worth anywhere from a mere fifth to a tenth of their original price. Students can expect an end to this disgusting exercise in extortion, though.

A bill has been introduced in the Ohio Senate by Senators Tom Roberts (D-5), Teresa Fedor (D-11) and Sue Morano (D-13) that contains a number of different regulations that will seek to lower textbook costs and prevent schools from buying books back at less than half price, among other provisions.

The move is part of the national effort to diminish the financial burden students suffer. Students often are forced to take one or more part-time jobs to afford undergraduate studies but not much else. Others must take out loans with ridiculous interest rates. This is why free food on college campuses resembles something of manna in the desert to students, not to mention the overwhelming contributions students make to Kraft Foods’ and Nisson Foods’ sales for their inexpensive noodle dishes. For those who go on to graduate school, law school or medical school, this financial servitude does not end and instead increases exponentially.

Obviously, book sales only comprise a small portion of academic costs, but this portion of the bill is the most flagrantly and perceptibly perverted. Most students have had or have known someone who bought a book for a class taught by the author. The teacher orders the textbook and then receives royalties for the students’ purchases. Publishers also seek to produce newer editions even when they are “educationally unnecessary”, according to, to keep students buying the more “updated” versions. This underhanded method not only forces students who could reuse an already purchased book to buy the new edition, but also deprives current owners of the option of selling back the book.

The new bill includes measures to address all of these concerns. If the bill is passed, teachers will no longer be able to collect royalties or otherwise profit from the utilization of their texts nor will universities be able to buy back textbooks for a price less than half of the original cost.

Bookstores will also be forced to sell independently the various components of a bundled book package. If a student won’t use the attached CD, for example, he or she won’t have to waste money on something that may or may not be bought back.

This legislation is something that not only students should get behind, but anyone with enough foresight to realize that the swindling of today’s collegiate populace leads to the near destitution of tomorrow’s workforce.

The Independent Collegian is the student newspaper at the University of Toledo.