Students Feel Brunt of Pricey Books; Bookstore Insists Prices Dictated by Publisher

News1 February 15, 2010 at 1:52 pm Comments are Disabled

Ethan Vaughn, Asst. News Editor The official bookstore of George Mason University defended its price practices, saying it does not have control over the skyrocketing cost of college textbooks. According to a study by the California Public Interest Research Group, the amount charged for university texts is rising nationwide at up to four times the rate of inflation. With the soaring financial burden of educational materials, which are often packaged with CDs, workbooks and unique access codes, The Washington Post estimates that 60 percent of American university students forego buying all or some of their books. “The publisher determines the price of the book,” said Jonathan Howard, assistant general manager at the George Mason bookstore. “By contract, we can only mark books up 25 percent,” added manager Barbara Headley. “That’s pretty standard, and across the board we mark books up by that rate. That covers shipping and the cost of operating a bricks-and-mortar facility.” Bookstore management asserted that while other “brick-and-mortar” bookstores that do not serve universities are able to maintain lower prices, they lack the guaranteed selection that the George Mason bookstore claims to offer. Headley said that she was “not allowed to disclose” the percentage of textbook profits […]