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Two Cheers for ASG Textbook Resolution

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The ASG is to be commended for their recent resolution on textbook costs. The first cheer is for calling attention to exorbitant prices, encouraging professors to explore alternatives that lower costs without compromising your education. The second cheer is for what they did NOT do-- ASG stayed away from encouraging the disastrous policy of “prepaid textbook rental,” as used at schools such as Eastern Illinois, which limits our academic freedom while seriously compromising your education. Imagine taking a literature class taught out of a single book-- a boring, prepaid textbook at that! The only oversight in the ASG resolution is that it is too narrow. Open-source textbooks are only one of many options to lower textbook prices. In PO 322, I replaced an expensive textbook with a host of websites, all fact-checked and posted by credible sources, which I hyperlink right on Canvas. In political philosophy classes, I assign real books, many of which cost $20 or less, instead of textbooks. Some of are available in the public domain online. Why read a textbook summary when you can get ideas straight from the source, and save money too? Finally, professors whose classes do require textbooks should explore assigning older editions-- has college algebra really changed that much in the last couple years, for example? Open-source textbooks are only one of a number of options, but the ASG is correct-- costs must come down, and soon.

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