[Libs-Or] Follow up from Oregon Textbook Taskforce

Tony Greiner tony_greiner at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 29 19:12:20 PDT 2012

A couple of months ago I posted a bit of news that Oregon's textbook cost reduction taskforce (a subsidiary of another group, HECC- Higher Education Coordinating Committee) was looking at some ways to get higher education textbook costs down. One of those was adopting a law that for every X number of textbooks a college bookstore ordered (say 50), the publisher would be required to donate 2 to the campus library. This would build up the college library's reserve collection, and give students access to textbooks at minimal cost to them or the college. Well, it turns out that there is a clause in that pesky U.S. Constitution (the 5th amendment, to be precise) called the "takings clause." It says that Government cannot just take things from private individuals or businesses. It has to buy them. And saying "If we buy 50, you HAVE to give us two" would be a taking. And the Supremes have consistently ruled that since the adoption of the 14th amendment and its equal protection clause, the states are bound by this as well.We can negotiate, "If we buy 50 from you, would you give us 2freebies?", but that could not be mandatory.
The textbook taskforce is recommending to the HECC that further study be conducted on how library reserves can be used to lower textbook costs by providing an alternative. At this point it is only a recommendation for future study.  A full report from the taskforce is due in November. If there is anything in it of interest to libraries, I'll pass it on.Tony Greiner, Portland Community College Library**tony_greiner at hotmail.com**
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