The Tru Textbook PlanMarch 15, 2011
By: Jennifer Cleary, Brittany Engle , and Dr. Bryce Jones
Brief Overview of the Plan:
The Tru Textbook Plan is a plan that will deal with the two major problems that we have at Truman; increasing textbook prices and a decreasing amount of state aid for state-run institutions. Students will be asked to pay an additional student fee of $10 a credit hour for Business Administration courses in order to offset part of the losses that university is suffering due to funding cuts. In return, students will be assigned the older version of their textbooks; which they would be able to get at a substantial savings.
In order to get President Paino’s approval, our committee needs to show him that the majority of Business Administration students are in favor of this proposal. After polling multiple business groups and business classes, we found that 91% of the 209 students polled were in favor of trying this plan in the Fall of 2011.
The members of this committee are in strong favor of this plan. This plan is completely supported by Jen Cleary (a member of the American Marketing Association and a Junior who is studying Business Administration- Management) by Brittany Engle (a member of Delta Sigma Pi and a Sophomore who is studying Business Administration- International Business and Marketing), and by Dr. Bryce Jones (Business Administration Professor).
Frequently Asked Questions:
What will I receive in return and how can this plan save me money?
The majority of the Business Administration faculty believes that they can roll back the edition of their main textbooks from the most current edition to the previous edition. These older editions can be purchases at a significant discount.
Example of Plan already in Use: in BSAD 534 Commercial Law, Dr. Bryce Jones went from the 14th edition of Jane Mallor Business Law to the 13th edition. From his perspective, he believes there is virtually no change in the real content of this textbook. The 13th edition was out of date in only one chapter–bankruptcy. But the law changes so quickly that the 14th (newest) edition is also out of date in the same chapter. This misinformation was fixed through a simple handout.
Example of Cost Savings: The 14th edition of Jane Mallor Business Law lists at $213 new and is sold at the bookstores for $200. A used edition is available for another year and it sells for $150. A rented copy costs $95. The 13th edition of Jane Mallor Business Law costs substantially less. Dr. Bryce Jones had 25 students in his class. All were able to get the book for $20 or less. One person paid $2 and another paid $2.50. Most were purchased from Half.com -a subsidiary of eBay- and the rest were purchased from Amazon. The average student in this class paid approximately $10 for this text. Including the $10 per credit hour fee, these students would have saved $160.
There are some classes that must have the new edition. This may be due to the substantial amount of new content or due to the added software that is need. After polling the Business Administration faculty, 3/4ths of the classes can roll back an edition. The money that is saved from these rolled-back classes should more than offset the additional $10 per credit hour required for the classes that cannot roll back.
Who would this affect?
Only Business Administration classes would be affected. If this plan succeeds, then it will be implemented throughout campus.
Why should I care?
Frankly, students have been taken advantage of by textbook publishers for years. It has been reflected in rising textbook costs and unneeded new editions when the content has changed little (at least in most courses). The main question is whether we are going to continue to be stomped on by system or whether we will strike back–at least here at Truman. For more information: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL8sOywEzPM&feature=player_embedded
How much could the State of Missouri be cutting Truman’s budget by and how would this affect me?
Right now we are staring at possibly a $3 million cut in current funding. The percentage of state funding has continued to decrease over the last several decades. This hurts the university in general but it makes it more likely that we will have to lay off faculty and cut courses and sections. That makes it more difficult for students to get the classes and sections that they need to graduate.
What if this plan does not save me any money?
Overall, we believe that the textbook savings can more than offset the increase in fees. At the beginning of the spring semester, we will survey students in the affected classes to see if the plan was affective. If students do not receive a substantial savings in the fall semester, the plan will be adjusted accordingly or dropped completely.
How could this affect area bookstores?
The Truman State University Barnes & Noble Bookstore and Patty’s Bookstore have already stated that they would be more than willing to accept and sell the older version of textbooks. These participating bookstores will not see a substantial decrease in sales.
How will I be able to get a copy of the older edition textbooks?
American Marketing Association and Delta Sigma Pi will be hosting a book swap at the beginning of every semester so students will be able to sell and buy their textbooks from other students. Delta Sigma Pi will also be supporting a year round, online website for students to purchase and sell their new and used textbooks. Websites like www.amazon.com and www.half.com are also available for students to purchase their books from.
What will happen to the newest editions of my textbooks?
There are three possible ways to sell your new textbooks. (1) The current bookstores will buy them back and move them to other stores. (2) Websites like www.amazon.com and www.half.com offer forums for students to sell their new textbooks to other buyers. (3) There is a company in Columbia, Missouri that purchases new editions from students. We will ask them send a representative up at the end of this semester.
Questions Asked By Students:
Although I do not mind paying the modest fee, why can’t they [faculty] reduce costs on books by issuing earlier editions anyways?
It’s a good question. We view it as a contract where each side gets something and each side give something up. If you are buying a car, you could ask the seller just to give you the car free. But would the seller likely do this?
We have two problems that we are addressing: text book prices and lack of funding from the state. Students can also suffer from lack of funding from the state with fewer faculty, fewer courses, and fewer sections. We don’t know where the cuts will come from yet.
But ultimately in regard to way the community sees this, saving students money ranks slightly about helping the university. If the students don’t see a net savings, then this 1 semester plan will have to adjusted (by lowering the fee) or getting rid of the whole plan. Right now we think that the textbook savings will outweigh the fee.
Again we plan to survey students right after the beginning the fall semester to see if this actually happened. If students have not on net saved money, then the plan changes to see that they do or the plan is scrapped.
But we don’t like the status quo now. We are being pinched by both higher textbook prices and being pinched by lower state funding.
Faculty (and perhaps students) will have to do some work by using slightly older texts. I give out handouts that I have made out for some things that are not up to date. But even with the newest edition, it is also out of date in the same areas.
For courses where the latest edition is being used, we are committed to finding lower prices for those texts too. We want to address both students buying and students selling their books. There is money to be saved in both areas.
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