Monday, August 21, 2006

Textbook season 

The local paper runs the usual kind of article on textbook costs at local colleges. (Note to news editor: Your budget is getting quite predictable. Who's covering SCSU opening drinking season this year?) The cures offered? Buying online and the selling back of used books. Inside Higher Ed has a story of one school that has required faculty to lock in their textbook choices for three years. Another article there argues that the textbook market restricts choices for students.

Worth reminding people: The value of a textbook will depend in part on what you can resell it for later. When I buy a used car, one of the things I look at is the price of that same model three years older in the current Blue Book -- that tells me how the car holds value. If this story about locking in textbooks for three years should increase the reselling price of books from students to bookstore, that would be fine. But the bookstore may be a monopsonist.