Concern over the cost of textbooks in the US is heating up and is an issue that is not going to go away. Good evidence of this is the AP story story on AOL News "Tough Problem: High textbook Costs". Here's a couple of quotes from the article, by Brian Bakst:
"In Minnesota, legislators are considering more tightly regulating the textbook publishing industry and requiring professors to be more cost-conscious in choosing course materials. At least a dozen other statehouses, from California to Connecticut, are taking up the issue.
"This is the hidden cost to higher education," said Democratic Rep. Frank Moe, the Minnesota's bill sponsor, who also teaches at Bemidji State University. "Reasonable profit makes sense. But the margins they are making on these textbooks is just absurd." Another quote I like is:
"The textbook industry pulls in more than $6.5 billion a year at college bookstores, and college books which have tripled in price since 1986. The industry estimates four-year college students spend $644 annually on books; a 2005 government report put the figure at about $900 per year, but that figure includes supplies, too.
At one legislative hearing in Minnesota, student leaders displayed a shrink-wrapped bundle of materials for a single Spanish course. The tab: $193".
The whole article is worth a read. Initiatives like the Global Text Project can help solve this "tough problem".