Ritter signs textbook bill
Measure aims at making book bills more affordable
Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill into law today that requires publishers to be more upfront about the costs of college textbooks — a measure that proponents say will help keep the skyrocketing prices in check.
The measure -- which was carried by Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder, and Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins -- requires publishers to "unbundle" textbooks so students are no longer forced to buy expensive extras, such as CD tutorials, which come packaged with their books.
Both legislators' districts cover college campuses.
The bill also requires publishers to disclose a textbook's price to professors and the public, as well as reveal substantial content revisions between editions.
“This is a consumer right-to-know bill for students and educators alike,” Ritter said today. “It represents an important step toward transparency and will help students and their families plan their budgets. Textbooks cost students hundreds of dollars a semester, and with two students in college myself, I know that every dollar counts.”
Ritter’s oldest son, August, is a senior at Colorado State University and was one of several students who advocated in favor of the bill on behalf of the Associated Students of Colorado, a statewide higher-education lobbying group that works closely with the University of Colorado's student government.
A congressionally mandated report released last year showed that an average student at a public, four-year school pays $900 a year for books. That cost is often the toppling point for low-income students, preventing them from enrolling in college, the report says.
Students have complained that their editions frequently change, and they can’t sell their books back at the end of the semester.
Some CU professors raised concern about the legislation earlier, saying it undercuts their academic freedom and responsibility to choose the best materials for their students. And CU Regent Tom Lucero, R-Johnstown, criticized the measure, saying the government should not interfere with the free market.