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On the edge


Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, September 7, 2004
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The best in last week's editorials from college campuses around the nation

Publishers to blame for textbook racket

In search of lower textbook prices, students have found creative ways to avoid shelling out hundreds of dollars.

At their most desperate, students in Brownsville have even gone as far as to purchase books at full price and then drive over to towns across the border, where they get photocopies made for a fraction of the cover price, The Associated Press reported. When they drive back, they return the textbook for a full refund. Copies cost about $13 for a 300-page book that might sell for $50 at the campus bookstore.

While most students here aren't packing for Mexico, many are looking for alternatives, and companies like amazon.com are thankful for that.

Buying used books from other students or companies can be attractive to the pocketbook, but is not always wise.

The reason for that is partly because publishers turn out new editions for textbooks fairly quickly, sometimes within 18 months, and most professors opt to go with newer editions. It also gets complicated when professors require book packages that ship with a unique ID number or CD-ROM. These packages are more expensive and usually can't be resold.

For the publishing industry to grow, it has to continually churn out new products - and that gets expensive.

There is no easy way to moderate the problem. Publishers could lengthen the shelf life of each edition, or professors could stick with one longer.

Universities could look into textbook rentals or other services that spread out the cost of books.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will turn to Web sites or the cluttered bulletin boards around UH to hunt down a textbook bargain. A few of us might even take a trip to Mexico.

- University of Houston's The Daily Cougar

Home is where the vote is

Across America, cities are discouraging or prohibiting students from voting in their university towns. Absentee voting is student voting, they're trying to tell us.

But when we spend nine months out of the year in our college town, where do we cast our vote (not to mention hang our hats)? This is the town that affects you. This is where you live nine months out of the year, or possibly year-round. This is where you work. This is where you get arrested. Students at the College of William and Mary in Virginia are currently fighting to register to vote in their college town. At IU, we have the right to register in Bloomington, temporary residence or not.

But an Indiana Daily Student article from Monday reported that of 97,000 registered voters in Monroe County, only 30,000 are active. Though this is partially because of unpurged voter rolls, the number of active voters is still too low. Get it together, Indiana University. Voting is terribly important; we all know this. But responsible voting is just as important.

"Local politicians are very unsure about students," said Michael O'Loughlin, a political science professor at Salisbury University in Maryland in an Aug. 28 Associated Press article. "They enjoy having students pay (sales) taxes and contribute to the economy, but they are wary of how students could influence politics at a local level." The only way to eradicate doubt is to rise above it. If we're going to be voting where we live, we need to be good houseguests. We should appreciate our ability to vote in Bloomington - as long as we are responsible about it.

- Indiana University's Indiana Daily Student

- Compiled from U-Wire



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