The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Sunday September 25th

Save us from book prices: Innovative ideas to decrease textbook costs should be expanded

The textbook industry isn't a business. It's a racket.

The prices of textbooks haven't just increased during the past 20 years.

They have increased at more than double the rate of inflation.

Schools can't force the publishing companies to lower their exorbitant prices.

But administrators have developed innovative ideas to help students offset these high prices.

 One approach that should be expanded is the multi-campus buyback consortium.

If a textbook isn't being used at UNC-Chapel Hill for the next semester students still can sell it back to the bookstore if it is being used at one of the other participating schools.

This partnership includes UNC-CH East Carolina University and N.C. State University.

The program could be even more effective if implemented systemwide.

The buyback guarantee system for selected textbooks is also a promising initiative.

The eventual buyback price still can be low but at least students know they won't get stuck with an unwanted textbook and no compensation.

But professors must take an active role in this initiative for it to actually work.

A textbook can only be buyback guaranteed if a professor agrees to use it for at least two semesters in a row.

Surely it isn't unreasonable to ask faculty to help students reduce costs during this economic downturn.

We understand that professors might want to have the newest textbooks for their classes.

But a book doesn't become obsolete after a single semester.

School administrators and professors should continue to work together to help combat the high price of textbooks.

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