New Florida Textbook Law Receives Mixed Reviews From UF Faculty

This story was written by Elizabeth Leva,
U. Florida students and faculty are giving mixed reviews to a new state law that buys students time to find the best deals for their textbooks.



The law, signed by Gov. Charlie Crist on May 28, requires Floridas community colleges and public universities to post lists of the textbooks required for each class on their Web sites at least 30 days before classes begin.



The law came under criticism during a discussion at a Faculty Senate Steering Committee meeting Thursday.



Danaya Wright, UF law professor, was among the most vocal critics. She said controlling the affordability of books is an issue for textbook companies not professors. The law is nothing short of idiotic, she said at the meeting.



Sometimes you need the newest material, Wright said. If the best book is the $180 book, thats still the best book.



Professors generally use the break before a course begins to review materials and decide what to use, she said.



Mark Rush, UF microeconomics professor, said the law would affect professors differently depending on their course material.



In the 15 years Rush has taught microeconomics, he has changed his book requirement less than five times, he said. Although he understands some courses require more up-to-date agendas than his, he said the level of protest from faculty perplexed him.



Its not like they are asking them to put out their syllabus that early, Rush said. Most peoples lives are not so full that they cant take a little time during a term to explore what is out there.



Ali Flickinger, UF marketing senior, said she regularly buys textbooks online, but most of her professors dont assign them until the first day of class.



While Flickinger favors the discounted prices of textbooks on Web sites such as Amazon.com, she said waiting for books to arrive is a major turnoff to online purchasing.



This semester I wasnt able to study for the first quiz in one of my classes because I hadnt received the book yet, she said. But this law should make all the difference.



Erica Rakow, UF telecommunications junior, said shipping delays hindered her decision to purchase books online in the past, but the new law would make her reconsider.



You can find them online 10 times cheaper, Rakow said. I have never bought textbooks online before, but now I probably will.

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