Bill to cut cost of college books

By MARC KOVAC

mkovac@dixcom.com

COLUMBUS

Publishers would have to provide less costly electronic versions of textbooks to students, and stores would have to buy back books for at least 50 percent of the original cost, under legislation being introduced in the Ohio House.

Democratic state Reps. Matt Lundy from Elyria and Matt Patten from Strongsville are offering the proposed law change as a means of containing college costs for Ohio students. “In tough times like these, every penny counts,” Lundy said during a press conference Tuesday at the Statehouse.

The legislation would require publishers to offer electronic versions of textbooks as lower-cost alternatives of standard books. In pilot e-book programs already in place at some Ohio colleges, students are paying about half the cost of certain textbooks when purchased in an electronic format, Lundy said.

Additionally, the bill would implement bulk purchasing among state universities to lower the cost of textbooks used by students at various campuses and prohibit the bundling of textbook materials — meaning students would purchase only the materials they need and not extras.

Bookstores also would be required to pay at least 50 percent of textbooks’ original value when buying them back at the end of a semester. That compares to 15 percent or 20 percent that is often the case, Lundy said. And professors would be prohibited from accepting publishers’ incentives for selecting textbooks used in classes.

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