Florida legislation looks to address high price of textbooks

MANATEE — Florida officials hope to harness the power of the global marketplace to bring down the price of textbooks.

The Florida Legislature last year passed a bill, H.B. 603, that addressed how to make textbooks used by community colleges and state universities more affordable. It led to a requirement that schools must post a list of textbooks required for each course at least 30 days before the first day of class for each term.

The requirement would provide students enough time to use the power of the Internet to shop for books, and gives bookstores time to stock used books, which cost less than new ones, said Bill Edmonds, director of communications for the state Board of Governors, which operates 11 Florida institutions.

Florida has 294,000 students in the state university system, state officials said. Of those, 3,360 in 2007 attended college in Manatee County; about 10,838 students are registered at Manatee Community College for the fall semester, officials said.

Additional time might also spur greater competition among bookstores and provide other options, such as rental or sharing arrangements among students, officials said.

The state also wants schools to help needy students who otherwise could not afford textbooks.

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