The Maryland University System Board of Regents today unanimously approved a policy requiring professors to make information on textbooks, such as edition and ISBN, available to students well in advance of the start of classes to allow them to search for the best price. The Board estimates the policy will cut textbook costs 20 to 30 percent:
Faculty are encouraged to use the same books for multiple semesters so students can buy the books used. Bookstores will also have to carry unbundled versions of course materials so students can buy only what they need.
“The fact of the matter is, when you’re teaching 18th century American history, the material doesn’t change that much,” said regent David Nevins. “We are strongly encouraging faculty to use the same textbooks as long as they’re educationally sound.”
University presidents said they supported the policy. “It’s going to make a difference. It’s going to help students,” said UMBC [University of Maryland, Baltimore County] President Freeman Hrabowski.
Interesting. Sure, it only applies to public universities in one state, but could this be a sign of change on the horizon? Next year’s WesMaps should be up in a couple of weeks, and every course listing includes a spot for “Required Readings;” there’s no reason the ISBN of the required books shouldn’t be listed alongside the titles and editions. Now if someone would just bar publishers from producing shrink-wrapped books that can’t be returned if they’ve been opened…
Baltimore Sun: Md. college students to see reduced textbook costs