Cheaper Textbooks

Several state lawmakers plan to put a stop to rising prices for college textbooks. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the plan aims to increase competition and restricting textbook turnover.

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$1 billion. That's the amount of money Texas college students spend on textbooks every year. University of Houston Senior Isaiah Warner says he spends several hundred dollars per semester on books.

"It's pretty sad whenever health insurance for a semester is cheaper than textbooks. Because health insurance from the last semester I was here for full-time was about $440, I believe. My textbook costs that semester were $520 something."

A federal report released last year shows fulltime college students spend an average of $900 per year on books. State Representative Scott Hochberg says he thinks universities should be required to use books for three years before replacing them with a new edition. He also wants to put an end to a practice known as bundling.

"Where, in order to buy a textbook, you've got to buy the textbook and the CD and the workbook and whatever else they feel like they can put in there. I call it 'do you want fries with that.' Many of the time, these additional products are not required for the course, they're not used in the course, all they do is run up the price."

Hochberg says the legislature could also implement a pilot program for renting textbooks and require booklists be made available much earlier, so students could have time to comparison shop for lower prices. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...