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College students spend between $700 and $1,000 on new and used textbooks each year, according to the Student Public Interest Research Groups. If you are one of the many students looking for ways to economize on textbooks this year, we have good news. The college textbook market, which has long been derided for producing expensive textbook bundles with low resale values, may finally be exploring low cost alternatives for students.

 

In a recent column, Steve Rosen outlines how the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires publishers to “unbundle” textbook packages so that students can buy just the book or supplementary materials they need. The new law, which will take effect in July 2010, also requires publishers to disclose the price of textbooks to professors so they can make informed choices when selecting materials for their classes.

 

But some folks in higher ed aren’t waiting for the legislation to take effect. Check out this article in the New York Times about an economics professor at Cal Tech who is so fed up with shady textbook selling practices that he is putting his introductory economics textbook online for students and professors to download for free. The article goes on to list several online textbook repositories that permit the sharing of course materials.

 

Have you found other ways to get around high prices at your campus bookstore? Share your suggestions with us by clicking on the “Comments” button.

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