This blog asks you to think about how prices are reached and what, if anything can be done with prices. First, take a look at an article from the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune that discusses textbook prices for college students. For many college students, prices are not achieved through individual bargaining, as instructors often choose a textbook based on content rather than price. A 2004 Washington Post article on textbook prices gives some more explanation as to why textbook prices have risen so steadily in recent years. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) studied textbook pricing in 2005 and the federal government is considering action on the matter as recently as last year. Many of the proposed government solutions have considerable unintended consequences, such as limiting the amount that a campus bookstore can markup the wholesale price of a textbook.
Questions you might try to answer:
• What are the unintended consequences of some of the legislation proposed to control textbook prices?
• Do you believe that there is a significant reason justifying the increase in textbook costs?
• Would you prefer ‘a la carte’ textbook pricing, where you pay a set amount for a textbook, and an additional amount for any ancillaries?
• What do you believe is the impact of secondhand or off site textbook dealers on the market for textbooks?
I would like your statements to be as subjective as possible, or in jargon terms, positive and not normative in nature. Also, remember, I want you to keep your descriptions short, basic, and related to classroom content. Read other students comments before posting, and please leave your name with your posting.