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April 3, 2007 > Reduce College Textbook Costs

Reduce College Textbook Costs

Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) joined students, faculty, and consumer advocates at California State University, East Bay today to announce legislation that addresses the growing costs of college textbooks.

"Outrageously high textbook prices are an impediment to an affordable education," said Senator Corbett. "Textbook publishers routinely fail to disclose basic information to faculty such as the cost and list of products they offer for sale. We need to address this problem and help our students better afford college."

Senator Corbett introduced SB 832 to require college textbook publishers at all public higher education campuses to provide faculty members with the following information:

A complete list of all of the products they offer for sale;
A list of the wholesale price for each of their products; and
An estimate of the length of time the publisher intends to keep those products on the market.

"College costs are soaring at an alarming rate -- it is time for the textbook publishers to level with its customers. Full and complete disclosure is long overdue," Senator Corbett added. "Just as you know the price of the food you buy at the local supermarket, the same option should be made available to faculty when they select books for their classes."

The legislation comes on the heels of a report released by California Public Research Interest Group (CALPIRG) "Exposing the Textbook Industry: How Publishers' Pricing Tactics Drive Up the Cost of College Textbooks."

The report found that three-fourths (77 percent) of professors surveyed said that textbook sales representatives rarely or never volunteer the price of the books they promote.

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