In a first-of-its-kind lawsuit that could affect thousands of
college students who think they are overcharged for textbooks, two
Daytona Beach Community College students have sued the nation’s largest
collegiate-bookstore chain and their school.
The class-action suit, filed in Orlando’s federal court, alleges
unfair and illegal pricing practices and seeks to recover at least $5
million in damages. It accuses the Follett Higher Education Group and
DBCC of overcharging students pennies on each used-book sale and
underpaying them when buying books back.
Though that may amount to only a few bucks each semester, the
students argue that, when multiplied by thousands of students at each
of the company’s more than 750 bookstores, it adds up to millions.
A Government Accountability Office report in 2005 found
college-book prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation in
the past two decades. A congressional advisory committee is undertaking
a yearlong study to find ways to rein in prices.
National Association of College Stores figures show used books
accounted for $1.9 billion in sales during the 2004-05 academic year.
New books accounted for $4.4 billion during that same time period.
Check out the original story here.
I remember spending close to five hundred dollars per quarter at Northwestern University 12 years ago for my undergraduate classes. I remember one class had us buy ten classics texts, and the professor was so disorganized that we only covered the first four.
It will be interesting to see how the online resources available to students these days will continue to change the materials we use in class. Many of those classics texts that I bought in 1994 are now available free via Google Books.
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