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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Take Action to Protest High Textbook Prices

Issue date: 9/21/06 Section: Editorial

It's time for students at this university to do something about textbook prices.

Whether you listen to the people at the bookstore who point the finger at professors or the professors who point the finger at the bookstore, it doesn't matter. Textbooks are expensive and the bookstores aren't going to lower prices or increase buy-backs if we don't give them a reason to.

We need to point the finger at ourselves.

Results from a Minnesota State Student Association survey released Wednesday showed textbooks are a main concern for Minnesota State students. In fact, 47 percent of the 2,053 students surveyed said textbooks should be the primary focus of the MSSA. The second most frequent answer was improving academic standards.

To put it into perspective: MSU students are more concerned with textbook prices than the education they're receiving. That's how big of an issue this is.

While we're sure the MSSA will take the data compiled from its survey to heart, there's only one way to change the landscape of how bookstores operate - trade and sell as many of your books to fellow students as possible.

While many students practice this technique already, it needs to occur more often for things to change. Whether it's through people you know in your major, dorm hall or whatever else, circulate as many books as possible without involving the bookstores. If you don't want to trade books because of a large differential in original cost, contact a bookstore to find out how much they'd buy it back for and sell it to a student for the same price. You'd be getting the same amount of money in the end, but would be saving a fellow student money instead of contributing to what is obviously a problem.

This would only be a semi-solution to the textbook problem, however, as any new editions would need to be purchased from the bookstores. With first edition and brand new books, a percentage of the cost, understandably, must go to all those involved in putting the book together. But overpaying bookstores repeatedly for the same books is not going to force them to change.

The bookstores are nothing but the middleman in the textbook exchange. Every time you buy a used book, at least one other student has previously owned that same book. Why not circulate books directly from one student to another?

No one is going to save us from this problem but ourselves. It's time to cut the middleman.