To the editor:
The students polled in the March 10 question, "Do you think college textbook prices have gotten out of control?" do not tell the whole story regarding textbook costs and options.
Publishers are sympathetic to students' concerns about the cost of textbooks. That's why they provide a range of learning materials from which faculty can choose. For example, there are 216 introductory psychology titles currently on sale in college bookstores around the country at retail prices ranging from $23.44 to $120.54. Publishers offer a variety of low-cost options such as split editions, electronic books, black-and-white editions, custom books and abbreviated editions. These alternatives and a new and expanding range of technologies are helping more students pass their courses, stay in school and graduate sooner, saving students time and money while improving their success rates.
According to the independent research service Student Monitor, the average college student spent $644 on textbooks during the 2005-2006 academic year, a cost that has remained generally steady for the past three years. Faculty and anyone else can instantly get price information from publishers' Web sites, bookstores or dozens of online booksellers.
As the cost of higher education continues to escalate, America's publishers are helping students get the most out of their tuition dollar by responding to students' educational needs. In fact, today's college textbooks may be among the best long-term investments a student can make.
Stacy Scarazzo Skelly, assistant director for Higher Education Association of American Publishers, Washington, D.C.