Publishers continue to raise textbook prices, report says

Rashad Muhammad, Staff Writer
February 23, 2012
Filed under News

San Diego Mesa College has suffered the rising cost of textbooks in recent semesters due to new editions and additional Internet supplements, which in turn creates financial burden for students.

The Mother Nature Network (MNN) reports that the US Government Accountability Office conducted research to determine the cause of the rising cost of textbooks. In a report summary, the U.S. GAO stated, “Publishers say they have increased investments in developing supplements in response to demand from instructors.”

Publishers, such as O’Donnell & Associates, have put much of their focus on the Internet. These new innovations create more supplements which in turn raise the price of the book they’re supplements.

“The teachers gain nothing from the publishers. It’s the corporations that make the prices so high,” said Mesa Bookstore Supervisor Carol Rohe.
Nancy Wichman, the District Bookstore Manager, stated that those publishers are responsible for the constant increase of prices.

“I’m looking at one of the bookstore shelves and I see a book for $250. It’s insane! It’s the revenue system for the publishing companies,” said Wichman. “They’re adding these new supplements to attract customers mainly for financial reasons.”

When asked if Mesa’s faculty benefited from these sales, Wichman stated, “They may be…I don’t know. I don’t pay anybody anything. I would have no idea of knowing.”

Teachers get to choose which books to assign to their respective courses. They can choose less expensive books and save students the dreadful financial burden.
Dr. Ron Ryno teaches sociology at Mesa College. Dr. Ryno has been utilizing the same textbook for the past ten years. The three hundred page textbook Ryno uses cost $5.

“The faculty are the ones who make the decision, the Bookstore doesn’t,” said Wichman in agreement. “If I was responsible for assigning texts I would go out and look for the best price and value for the students but it’s not my job because academic freedom prevails.”

There are laws and federal acts in place to help decrease the prices of textbooks. There are also many national groups to help defer the costs, these endeavors becomes meaningless without the support of teachers.

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