Rapidly rising textbook prices affect all University students, and several state legislators are trying to find ways to reduce higher education textbooks costs.

Two separate bills were introduced to the Oregon House of Representatives within the past five months to discuss strategies for lowering the price of textbooks.

House Bill 3651 was introduced on April 25 and went into detail about how to reduce the price of textbooks by ways of facilitating peer-to-peer textbook sales, the use of print-on-demand for book publishing and having textbook rentals.

Rep. Michael Dembrow, who introduced both bills, wrote the following message on his website after the public hearing on Feb. 11: “In addition to having a member of the business community speak to the necessity for lowering textbook prices for students, the committee heard from students who often feel they have to choose between buying textbooks and buying basic necessities. The cost of textbooks even prevents some students from graduating on time.”

Dembrow introduced the bill after reading a 2009 report from the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, which said U.S. students pay $700 per year on average for textbooks and that the price of textbooks has been exponentially rising over the last decade.

OSPIRG’s report found that open-source textbooks can reduce the amount a student spends by 80 percent on average.

“It’s too expensive,” University junior Naomi Meacham said of textbooks. “The only time you get a decent price on a textbook is when they’re overstocked.” @@Naomi Meacham: http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Naomi+Meacham+@@

Bruce Lundy, book division team leader at The Duck Store, gave supportive testimony to House Bill 2963 a few months ago. The book store put together a list for money-saving ideas, which include price comparisons, selling used textbooks, digital textbooks and book swaps. @@Bruce Lundy: http://www.linkedin.com/search/fpsearch?fname=Bruce&lname=Lundy&pplSearchOrigin=SEO_SN&trk=SEO_SN&csrfToken=guest_token&domainCountryName[email protected]@

Textbooks at The Duck Store are 10 percent off the new price, and used copies are at least 25 percent less than that, which results in students saving more than $1 million a year, according to a pamphlet distributed by The Duck Store.

To find ways to lower the price of textbooks, the Joint Boards of Education — the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and the Oregon State Board of Education — will look at such strategies as bulk purchasing of textbooks, statewide used book exchange, lower-cost materials, promoting open source textbooks, sharing online materials and creating a partnership with other states to implement cost-saving strategies.

The University, as well as many other schools, has buybacks where students can return their books and get 50 percent of the student discounted price for new books back in their pockets.

“Buybacks aren’t worth it for what you get, if they buy your books back at all,” University junior Chelsea Van Baalen said. “Renting books is great, especially since you really only use them for one term anyway.” @@Chelsea Van Baalen: http://directory.uoregon.edu/telecom/directory.jsp?p=findpeople%2Ffind_results&m=student&d=person&b=name&s=Chelsea+Van+Baalen@@

Though renting does not work for every course, there are a great number of books available through the library’s course reserve system. Rentals are also available through the The Duck Store.


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