Report 2007-116 Recommendation 11 Responses

Report 2007-116: Affordability of College Textbooks: Textbook Prices Have Risen Significantly in the Last Four Years, but Some Strategies May Help to Control These Costs for Students (Release Date: August 2008)

Recommendation #11 To: University, California State

To increase awareness and transparency about the reasons campus bookstores add markups to publishers' invoice prices for textbooks, UC, CSU, and the community colleges should reevaluate bookstores’ pricing policies to ensure that markups are not higher than necessary to support bookstore operations. If the campuses determine that bookstore profits are needed to fund other campus activities, the campuses should seek input from students as necessary to determine whether such purposes are warranted and supported by the student body, particularly when higher textbook prices result.

60-Day Agency Response

CSU explained that while campus bookstores provide an essential service, they are highly capital intensive. CSU added that the costs of providing the infrastructure for selling textbooks as well as the requirement that a campus bookstore offer all texts required by a campus’s faculty results in a business that must markup its inventory, including textbooks, to cover its costs. CSU indicated that the markup rates differ across the system and are modified at various points in time when the contracts are negotiated. (See 2010-406, p. 157)

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Fully Implemented

All Recommendations in 2007-116

Agency responses received after June 2013 are posted verbatim.