2005-01-25

PETITION: CHEAPER TEXTBOOKS: http://action.virginia21.org/petition/

See article below and sign the petition at: http://action.virginia21.org/petition/ I myself have personally been effected by high-priced textbooks. Spending $100 on a book that is a "new edition" (via the change of 10 or so pages of content) while never realizing the "old edition" would be good enough to learn the concepts at hand. As a student, I spent many Ramen-noodle meals on overpriced textbooks! Article: Va. public-school students would have more options under legislator's plan BY GARY ROBERTSON TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER Del. G. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News, says one of his daughters, a junior political-science major at the College of William and Mary, recently spent $600 on books. And a woman who was taking an evening education course told him she had spent $94 for a textbook. At the end of the class, she had to tear pages out of the book to take a test -- which meant the book couldn't be resold, Oder said. Those are some of the reasons that Oder is sponsoring what is being called the Textbook Market Fairness Act. "This is a step toward halting the rapid rise of textbook prices," Oder said, noting that students will be able to "level the playing field" by being able to buy books without going through the college bookstore. He said a free and fair market for textbooks does not exist. [So true! -Clint] His proposal, now in the House Education Committee, seeks to prohibit publishers from giving inducements to public-college professors or other employees for requiring students to purchase specific textbooks. It also would require colleges to post assigned textbooks on their Web sites as soon as professors decide on them, so students could search elsewhere for books. "I would expect that students could save as much as 20 to 40 percent," Oder said. He said a companion study would seek to investigate the entire system of college textbooks sales. Oder credited Virginia21, a group that seeks to mobilize those in the 18-24 age group on nonpartisan issues, for pressing for reform in textbook sales. Sumeet Bagai, Virginia Tech's student-body president, said, "As any student or parent with a child in college knows, the price of textbooks has gotten out of control." He said more than 3,000 students at public colleges throughout the state have already signed the Petition for Textbook Fairness. Oder said he expects the number of online signatures for the petition in support of his bill to multiply as students become aware of the petition. A ranking spokesman for the Association of American Publishers was at yesterday's news conference announcing the textbook initiative, to offer his industry's perspective. "Publishers do not overcharge for textbooks," said J. Bruce Hildebrand, executive director for higher education for the publishers association. "The significant, upfront investment for a textbook must be spread over a small, niche market," he said. [Typical excrement from a corporate fatcat. -CL.] Contact Gary Robertson at (804) 649-6346 or grobertson@timesdispatch.com.

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