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This is a great article pinpointing the primary issue along with some more helpful advice on fixing the larger textbook problem than most of the traditional ever-green articles that hit the wire just prior to the start of a new term! However, if Congress is going to take steps, they may be better off trying to regulate the industry back into a more competitive shape, but this as unlikely to happen as the current Congressional plan. Instead, I'd recommend that students, professors, and universities fix the problem for the publishers by changing the word "Required" to "Recommended" in every syllabus in the country. Doing this would help allow students to pay as much for textbooks as they do for the average bestseller, which average about $15 and generally doesn't go over $40, even in hardback.

I've written some more specific details and thoughts on the roots of the issue here: "To Purchase, Rent, or Pirate? The Broken Economics of Textbooks in the Digital Age" for those who'd like to delve more deeply into the problem and potential solutions.

Thanks BI, for helping to not only highlight the problem, but to push solutions. Given the thesis of Cesar Hidalgo's recent text "Why Information Grows", one of the greatest business issues America faces is making it easier for information to disseminate within our culture, and the excessive cost of textbooks and education is going to have drastic effects on our culture and country in the coming century.