Every year there seems to be a bit of news buzz in the first weeks of August about how expensive college textbooks have become. To help ease the burden, Congress has enacted new legislation mandating that institutions of higher learning be more transparent about college costs.
One of the reasons behind the higher costs of textbooks is something called "bundling." Publishers often package textbooks with additional supplements, such as CD study guides – useful, but not always necessary. The new Higher Education Act is asking publishers to provide clearer pricing information to bookstore buyers and educators, in addition to offering unbundled textbooks.
College textbooks are big business, even though publishers insist that profit margins are small. The University of Arkansas is predicting that its students will collectively spend more than $2.5 million this month alone on textbooks.