Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kiddy price controls 

MnSCU's organization of student governments has made part of its platform to "support programs to lower student textbook costs including, but not limited to, textbook rental." That's great! So how are they proposing to do this? Today the campus receives an announcement:
I am working with MSUSA and St. Cloud State Student Senate to create a Minnesota Textbook Commission at the Minnesota State Legislature to investigate the practices of textbook publishing companies and why the prices are so high. As part of this initiative, we are asking for input from individual students. We are requesting about 5-10 minutes to explain the initiative and get some feedback from your classes. If you are willing to help us out with this, please respond to [...] with class times, dates and room numbers of classes.
I can only imagine what the answers will be. Let me save them the bother. There are studies available that will tell you the data. There are articles. What the purpose of this commission is, is to extort rents from textbook providers. When one of the studies says flatly that used textbooks "should" cost no more than 75% of new, that would be a price ceiling.