Monday, March 16, 2009

 

February and the flogging continues oh and also: textbooks suck!

Just got around to adding up my February naughty spending and my fine came to $74.97 a whopping .86 less than January . Hey at least I'm consistent, that counts for something right?

I had a new idea today. We've tried all sorts of ways to control our eating out, but until we develop actual willpower I'm afraid the unabashed eating will continue. So instead of trying to force limits on it, I'm going to track it for awhile and post it on a calendar. Maybe seeing how often we do it will help, although I'm not feeling well right now and the last thing I want to do is cook dinner so....

About textbooks, I knew they were a huge money-making scheme, but I had no idea to what extent. Last month when I registered for Spring quarter I went to my school's online bookstore to get my book list. I also made a note of the prices because I like to buy them elsewhere for cheaper. Well after going to the school bookstore I went to the WAOL site, which is the site that manages some of the online courses I am taking. The WAOL site has a link to ecampus letting you search for books on the ecampus site via the WAOL course number. This is convenient because the school bookstore site does not give out isbn numbers online because of course they don't want you to have those numbers and find the books cheaper elsewhere. The WAOL link to ecampus was selling the books for roughly the same price as the school bookstore. This I expected because WAOL is run by the schools and they wouldn't undercut their own stores so they obviously have some kind of pricing agreement in place with ecampus. (I'm getting to the point). When I loaded my cart at ecampus I noticed that I did not have free shipping. Now I have shopped at ecampus before and know that all orders over $59 qualify for free shipping. Being curious, I emptied my cart and logged out of my WAOL session. I then logged back into the ecampus site with my own account which is not tied to any school, meaning I receive the non-school contract pricing otherwise known as regular retail pricing. And hooray the free shipping was available! I searched for my books and discovered that by using my retail account instead of a school account my books were now on average 15% cheaper and I got free shipping! This is where I got angry, aren't schools charging students enough already? That they feel the need to charge 15% more than retail stinks!

There was a bill introduced in Congree in 2007 dealing with textbook affordability. It didn't pass.

image courtesy of beans for books
College Textbook Affordability and Transparency Act of 2007 - Requires publishers informing teachers at institutions of higher education about available textbooks or supplements to include written information concerning: (1) the price the publisher would charge the bookstore associated with such institution for such items; (2) the full history of revisions for such items; and (3) whether such items are available in other formats, including paperback and unbound, and the price the publisher would charge the bookstore for items in those formats.
Requires a publisher that sells a textbook and any accompanying supplement as a single bundled item also to sell them as separately priced and unbundled items.
Directs federally-assisted institutions of higher education to include on printed or internet course schedules the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price for each required or recommended textbook or supplement for listed courses. Requires an institution to: (1) use the author and title if the ISBN is unavailable; and (2) indicate that the required information has yet to be determined if its disclosure for a course is impractical.
Requires such institutions to provide sellers of textbooks (other than publishers) that meet their requirements with: (1) their course schedules for the subsequent academic period; (2) the information this Act requires to be placed on each course schedule regarding each textbook or supplement required or recommended for each course; and (3) the number of students enrolled, and the maximum enrollment, in each course.