As I type this at my desk, I am surrounded by a thousands of dollars worth of textbooks. They are a constant reminder of this country’s corrupt educational system. Though inflation has risen 71% since 1986, college tuition and fees have risen 240% during that same period.
Textbooks in particular have risen 186%. In response to this, Bush recently signed the College Textbook Affordability Act. Though filled with good intentions, the Act falls short of actually alleviating the financial burden textbooks put upon students.
The Act merely requires schools to give faculty and students the ISBN numbers of the books so the faculty can choose reasonably priced books and students can look elsewhere for cheaper sale prices. The drafters of the Act failed to realize that websites like Craigslist and BigWords already assist students in finding their textbooks at lower prices.
The real problem, that the Act fails to address, is the recent trend of increasing the frequency of republications. New editions mean students can’t buy used textbooks and can’t sell back their textbooks at the end of the semester. The high prices stay high and we stay poor.