Cheap textbooks on table for those with access

Textbooks are a large part of the cost of a college education, sometimes costing students so much money they have to compromise their schooling.

On Oct. 8, 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown passed bill “AB 798” to lower the price of online textbooks for students of community colleges across California. Now there is concern for how this will affect Skyline students and campus.

“If textbooks were cheaper or free, I would take more classes,” Skyline student Connor John said.

One of the many reasons why students do not have a complete collection of their required study material on time for class is due to the expense. There are times where a student may not be able to afford to buy more than two textbooks at a time. For professors and students, this new law could be beneficial.

“I find myself paying more than tuition for all my textbooks combined,” Skyline student Cristy Dela-Rosa said. “It’s all really stressful so I would like this change.”

Some Skyline faculty agree. “I think that a student would not be as successful without having access to their course textbook if their instructor uses the textbook regularly,” Language Arts and Communication Studies Professor Danielle Powell said. “I would like to think that if textbooks were more affordable then more students would purchase their textbooks.”

For Skyline’s own bookstore, prices of books could affect their sales.

“Cheaper textbooks would certainly affect the store’s sales,” Skyline Bookstore manager Kevin Chak said.

“This would be similar to when we began the rental program,” Chak said. “Since the books are rented or sold at a fraction of what the traditional pricing of the book would be, sales dollars will decrease because of this, but the number of units sold/rented may remain the same or even increase due to the lower price.”

“The biggest cost factor for students are textbooks and supplies,” said Regina Morrison, director of financial services, “As far as affordability goes, wonderful.”

The majority of students could benefit, but some low income students may suffer. When taking student demographics and internet access into account, this new law might be an inconvenience to a portion of those students.

Regina Morrison says that people need to notice another side to this, taking into account students who have access to technology. There may be some students who get an online textbook but are unable to get full access to the online work they need to do.

“It’s not fair because their access is more limited.” Skyline student Hallecka Valdez said.

There are students who cannot afford the convenience of a computer outside of school. Morrison describes this being like a “double-edged sword.”

“If you make the books cheaper, someone somewhere else will have to pick up the tab,” John said. “If it doesn’t affect you, it will affect someone else.”