Jason C. Consolacion
Ed De La Garza
Christian Schmidt Keenan
There may not have been a multitude of people marching to E. Cullen,
but it was a sign of life for a campus that's often been criticized for
A small number of students -- and one associate history professor --
gathered outside the UH Bookstore on Tuesday to protest what they called
its unfair tactics, that being the way in which it sells, buys back
and then re-sells much needed textbooks. Some students even said they'd
the group in boycotting the bookstore.
Its point was that prices were too high to begin with and the selling
of used books helped the bookstore more than it did the students. Flyers
passed out during the event blamed that practice for driving up the
cost of new books, saying publishers raised prices when fewer new copies
It should be noted that Rother's, the bookstore being touted by the
group as an alternative, also buys and sells used textbooks.
Bringing attention to how hard it is for the average student to pay
for all of their required texts is a good idea. Unfortunately, aside from
photocopies of a friend's book (not legal), most students don't really
have an option. Those without credit cards or checking accounts can't buy
books online. And every single book isn't available from individuals.
So unless a person wants to remain perpetually behind the rest of the
class, books are needed to attain anything resembling a satisfactory
It seems like ages ago, but there was a time when a person could walk
into the bookstore and purchase a math book for less than $100. For the
longest time, book loans, provided to students by the University to
lessen the immediate strain on wallets, were set at $250, meaning the
average student could purchase roughly 2.5 new books.
This semester, that figure was raised to $400 -- thanks in large part
to the Student Government Association. On the surface, it sounds like a
much overdue boost, but even SGA wondered whether or not the added
boost would eventually turn into an added strain when the loan
There doesn't seem to be an easy answer to the problem. Everyone knows
books are expensive. But telling people that used books are a bad
idea and only lead to higher prices for the shrink-wrapped version
might not be the best option.
Try starting with the professors who keep changing editions or up their
sales by putting their works on required text lists.
Either that or fail.