Students Willingly Shell Out Money For More Green

At least 14 campuses in the United States and four in Canada have passed student-approved fee increases to purchase renewable energy and/or reduce carbon emissions. Students are in favor of the $10-$25 a year fee hikes because the relatively small amount of money adds up to a lot of impact.

Students at the University of Florida voted for a $14 fee increase that is expected to raise approximately $645,000 a year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their campus. At Oregon State University, an $8.50 fee increase is estimated to be enough to offset all of the campus's electricity usage through the purchase of renewable energy credits. With the small fee increase, the currently coal-operated Oregon State University will be able to look into wind power purchases.

"There's the risk that they [students] will say, 'Well, we're funding this, so we can do whatever now,' " said Brandon Trelstad, Oregon State University's campus sustainability coordinator. "The beauty of the fee is if campus energy consumption goes up dramatically, so will the fee the next year if we want to continue to offset 100 percent of Oregon State's consumption."

Many colleges are supporting student efforts to go green by matching students' monetary contributions. Other colleges, like Oregon State University, have officially made the pledge to go green with their students. Oregon State University's president, signed the American Colleges and University President Climate Commitment as the vote for the fee increase was passed by students.

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Source:

Powers, Elia. “Cents and Sustainability.” Inside High Ed 18 MAY 2007 http://insidehighered.com/news/2007/05/18/fees.


 

 

 

Invasion of Privacy, or Protection of Property?

Wisconsin‘s Madison City Council has just passed legislation that regulates the sale of used textbooks by identifying who is selling what.

The ordinance, which will take effect in mid-July, requires students to provide valid photo identification when selling a used textbook back to a bookstore. Bookstores are then required to fill out a form identifying the book’s author, title, ISBN and the person selling the book. If the seller can not provide valid photo I.D., he or she will have to provide a social security number and the bookstore is to log a detailed physical description of the seller. These records are to be kept on file for six months, or be submitted to the Madison Police Department.

The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce the incidence of textbook thefts and re-sale for quick cash. However, there is concern that keeping records of what books people own and sell is a violation of their First Amendment rights. In addition, it is difficult to narrow down what exactly qualifies as a textbook. Classes about sensitive topics like human sexuality and women’s studies may require “textbooks” that are just regular books. This means there will be a record kept of who at one point owned and sold back those sensitive-topic books. A requirement to keep record of such sensitive information makes community members like Sandra Torkildson, owner of A Room of One’s Own Feminist Bookstore in Madison, uncomfortable.

“For over 30 years as a bookseller, I have never kept records of what my customers buy here,” said Torkildson. “Our store sells many books on sensitive social and political issues. Since the Patriot Act went into effect, we have been even more careful to make sure that no records link a customer’s name to any book we sell or purchase.”

Stacy Harbaugh of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin expressed concern that the new ordinance may breach privacy and expose students to identity theft.

“If all this information is stored together, are bookkeepers really prepared to keep a lock and key on all this?” Harbaugh said.

Alderman Eli Judge, District 8, was the co-sponsor of the ordinance. He believes the ordinance will be a strong deterrent to on-campus textbook theft.

“With class schedules and course book lists already recorded by the university, these logs will not store any information that could be construed as private,” said Judge. “During my campaign, I spent hours speaking to students at the doors about issues that mattered to them, and the frequency of crime came up again and again. This ordinance is a small but important step toward making our campus a safer place.”

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Sources:

Judge, Eli. “A First Step for Student Safety.” Eli Judge Madison’s 8th District Alder. 01 MAY 2007. Eli Judge. http://elijudge.org/2007/05/a_first_step_for_student_safet.html

Mueller, Beth. “Textbook ID plan passes.” The Badger Herald 02 MAY 2007. http://badgerherald.com/news/2007/05/02/textbook_id_plan_pas.php

Schoepp, Brittany. “Madison City Council OK’s rules for used books.” Wisconsin State Journal 02 MAY 2007. http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/index.php?ntid=131957&ntpid=3

Schwartz, Nomi. “When Selling Used Textbooks Is a Privacy Issue.” Bookselling This Week. 09 MAY 2007. American Booksellers Association. http://news.bookweb.org/freeexpression/5268.html


NACS Gets Involved with the Senator's Bill

Last time, we brought to your attention that Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., has introduced bill (S 945) in the U.S. Senate to regulate textbook price disclosures and posting requirements. To summarize, the bill would require publishers to offer bundled textbook materials in unbundled form, provide the ISBN and price of textbook in the course schedule, and provide the textbook requirement for each class to every bookstore that requests it. All these rules are meant to make textbooks more affordable to students. So who, in the world, would fight this bill?

The least likely organizations: your bookstores. The National Association of College Bookstores (NACS), which has 3,170 collegiate retailer[1] members, "opposes legislation that includes mandates that restrict the sale of faculty adopted course materials, including bundles"[2] Why? The NACS claims that limiting their ability to sell textbook bundles would undermine the ability of their college stores to "support the academic mission of the colleges and universities they serve."[3]

According to the Used Textbook Association (UTA), a group of wholesalers and bookstores that believe in the promotion of used textbooks as an affordable alternative, only 19 percent of students who have used the bundled materials find them useful[4]. Because many bundled materials (i.e. CDs and DVDs) have one-time use codes, students have a hard time reselling the book after they are done since codes are only issued with new books.

The NACS is currently working with Durbin's staff to discuss revisions to the bill. Hopefully, the main benefits of the bill will not be watered down by the NACS's influence.


[1] According to the NACS "Testimony to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance." September 19, 20006: http://www.nacs.org/public/NACSTestimonyACSFA.pdf.

[2] According to the NACS "FAQ on Bundles." April 2006: http://www.nacs.org/common/research/faq_bundles.pdf.

[3] According to the NACS "FAQ on Bundles." April 2006: http://www.nacs.org/common/research/faq_bundles.pdf.

[4] College Store Executive. January 2007: http://www.usedtextbookassociation.org/pdf/UTA_college_store_exec.pdf.


Multiple Textbook Time-Saver

In response to users' requests, CampusBooks.com has launched the Textbook Bulk Upload feature, which allows sellers to upload up to 100 textbooks at a time for sale. This new feature will save time for sellers who have more than one or two textbooks to sell, but don't want to sit around and list each book individually. Listing books is simple and easy:

  • Log into CampusBooks to access your account.
  • Click on "List Multiple Books."
  • Open the Excel file with the spreadsheet that has been pre-formatted for your convenience.
  • Type all your ISBNs into that one document along with what condition the textbooks are in and how much you'd like to sell them for. The spreadsheet should look like this:

Sample Spreadsheet

  • Go back to your account page, click on the button to upload the file and you're done!

Your list of textbooks is then posted to the CampusBooks Marketplace for sale at the price that you determined. Everything–from the format of the Excel sheet to the upload process–is designed to be user-friendly and easy to understand so you don't waste time trying to figure out complicated directions.

An extra hour of not having to upload textbooks online means an extra hour of lounging on the beach or doing absolutely nothing, so "work smarter, not harder!" After all, wasn't that the point of getting a college education with those textbooks in the first place?To try out the Textbook Bulk Upload feature, just log into your account and under "Sell Books," click on "List Multiple Books." If you don't have an account, get one free on our secure site. Please feel free to email us if you have any questions/problems!

Read more »


Senator Steps Up to Make Textbooks Cheaper

The cost of college textbook prices is climbing at four times the rate of inflation, according to information released by Illinois Senator Richard J. Durbin (D) via the State News Service in April 2007. The average student spends $900 a year on textbooks. This is ridiculous, considering that the average cost of tuition and fees at a public four-year institution is $5,836[1]. That means textbooks make up about 15 percent of the cost of attending college!

Durbin is proposing a bill that aims to make college textbooks and supplemental materials more affordable and easily accessible to college students. The bill is called the College Textbook Affordability Act. If passed, it would:

1. Require publishers to inform college faculty of:

  • A history of the textbook's revisions and whether the textbook and supplemental materials are available in a potentially lower-priced alternative format.
  • The price of the textbooks and supplemental material they are trying to market.

2. Requires publishers who bundle course material to offer the textbooks and supplemental material in unbundled versions.

Ed. Note: Thank goodness for this one! Every one knows that those CDs included in bundled books will just end up being the most expensive drink coasters a college student will ever own.

3. Require colleges receiving federal assistance to include the ISBN and retail price of textbooks and supplemental materials in the course schedule.

Ed. Note: Goody! Now we can compare prices online and order textbooks before we spend hours photocopying the library's edition to study for our midterm. Plus, with ISBNs given to us, there will be no chance of ordering the wrong book.

4. Require schools, when asked, to provide bookstores with access to the course schedule, ISBN numbers of course material, and the maximum and current course enrollment numbers.

Ed. Note: Some colleges already provide this information, but it will make it way more convenient to be able to purchase books in bundles according to each class instead of switching back and forth from window to window comparing total overall prices.

The bill has been ok'd by the Senate and is now waiting for approval from the House of Representatives. For more information about this bill, please visit http://durbin.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=271751.


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[1] According to Collegeboard.com, a Web site that administers admissions, guidance, assessment, financial aid and enrollment programs for students. http://www.collegeboard.com/student/pay/add-it-up/4494.html


Textbook prices just keep going up, as I’m sure you’re all painfully aware! We know textbook prices are not exactly a riveting topic, but having all been college students, we know that although textbook prices are not exciting, saving money is ! We believe that it is important to keep up on the happenings of the textbook publishing world so that we can pass that knowledge on to the people who need it most: you. So check back often because we will be updating this blog at least once a week with textbook news that will put money in your pocket. For our more personal and revealing blog, check out our Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/campusbooks.


Who are we?
We are an online shopping comparison Web site for books. This includes textbooks, trade books, rare books, general interest books, etc. Any book that you’re looking for, from Bridget Jones’s Diary to Introduction to Psychology , we’ve got it. The main purpose of our site is to allow users to search over 40 different online bookstores at the same time, just by entering the title or ISBN of the book. You can search for your book and we will find the best price for that book. Easy huh? To see a sample of what it would look like, click on any of the previously mentioned titles. You can also visit our Web site for more information about us: http://www.campusbooks.com

Why are we blogging?
Textbook prices just keep going up, as I'm sure you're all painfully aware! We know textbook prices are not exactly a riveting topic, but having all been college students, we know that although textbook prices are not exciting, saving money is. We believe that it is important to keep up on the happenings of the textbook publishing world so that we can pass that knowledge on to our consumers. So check back often because we will be updating this blog at least once a week with textbook news that will put money in your pocket. For our more personal and revealing blog, check out our Myspace page at http://www.myspace.com/campusbooks and add us!

Please note: CampusBooks.com is not a formal news service and does not claim to be. We are simply trying to bring attention to issues that affect our main public—college students—in order to help you make the most informed choices possible. Any stories we choose to bring up for discussion in the blog do not reflect our political affiliations or bias for any party. Republican, Democrat, Independent or unaffiliated, it doesn't matter to us. Our decision regarding what stories to discuss depend on what we think will most affect you.