A new federal law requires publishers to provide textbook price
information to professors and calls on colleges to identify course
textbooks during registration, giving students more time to shop around.
Experts call it a step in the right direction, but not a game-changer.
At the same time, a robust online marketplace of used books and recent
inroads by textbook rental programs give students more options than
ever. The prospect of digital books and slow-but-steady growth in free
online “open” content loom as developments that could upend the textbook
landscape and alleviate the perennial problem of rising prices.
“Change is coming, but it’s not going to happen immediately,” said David
Lewis, dean of the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
University Library and assistant vice president for digital scholarly
communications at Indiana University. “If you’re in junior high school,
you can be sure it’ll be better. If you’re in high school, there’s a
shot. If you’re starting college as a freshman, you might see it as a
senior. It’s on more and more people’s agenda.”–Washington Post