Monday’s article, “California group looks to combat high textbook prices,” failed to provide an accurate view of textbook costs and options. Publishers are sympathetic to students’ concerns about the cost of textbooks. That’s why they offer a range of course materials from which faculty can choose, including lower-cost options such as electronic books, black-and-white editions, custom books and abbreviated editions.

For example, there are 216 introductory psychology titles currently on sale in college bookstores at retail prices ranging from $23.44 to $120.54. These alternatives and a new and expanding range of technologies help more students pass their courses, stay in school and graduate sooner, saving students time and money while improving their success rate.

According to Student Monitor, a market research service, the average college student spent $644 on textbooks during the 2005-06 academic year, a cost that has remained generally steady over the past three years. Contrary to the article, publishers aren’t making a killing on textbook sales. Publishers’ income after taxes, printing, binding, paper and other expenses is about 7 percent.

As the cost of higher education continues to escalate, America’s publishers are helping students get the most out of their tuition dollar by responding to changing needs. In fact, today’s college textbooks may be among the best long-term investments a student can make.

Stacy Scarazzo Skelly

Assistant director for Higher Education Association of American Publishers

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