Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 6 months ago

what would happen if a state like florida imposed price controls on textbooks?

If florida were to legislate a $75.00 price ceiling on college textbooks what would actially happen.

Would publishers withdraw from the florida market and opt not to sell in Florida forcing students to travel to Georgia, Alabama or the Bahamas to buy textbooks. sparking higher demands for travel.

Would it cause people to travel to Florida to buy textbooks in bulk to resell in other markets.

Could it cause other market disruptions and perverse incentives? What could likely happen in this scenario, would such a move actually help the scenario.

If the price controls were backed by more states and jurisdictions such as a uniform price control imposed by FLorida Georgia Alabama Misissippi the Bahamas, Puerto Rico Louisiana Arkansas Tennessee and the Carolinas. Would expanding the coverage area geographically help prevent easy arbitrage and circumvention?

What would likely happen?


There is a whole textbook affordability campaign in florida but the most effective LEGALLY BINDING option hasnt been tried which is price controls?

4 Answers

  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    I'll disregard the severe and very real barriers to such a price ceiling in practice.

    One possibility is the generation of new, smaller packages, to skirt the rule. For instance, Calculus I might be one book today, for $100. A publisher could split that into Calculus Ia, differentials, for $75, and Calculus 1b. integrals, for $75. Oh, and each has an adjunct problem set volume, so if you want to do the homework, you need to buy 2 more books.

    If the same texts are cheaper in Florida or whatever the affected area is, that will effectively set the national price. What I don't see is a sudden arbitrage opportunity. An efficient market will make it so that it's not worth it to ship a book from Florida to (say) Nevada.

    Also, only books that would have been about $75 in the first place would continue to be sold in Florida. A publisher (and authoring professor) could make more by simply not selling the book in Florida, and running the price up to what the market will bear, elsewhere.

    What this does is effectively ban certain books from Florida classrooms (expensive ones). A university (or elementary school district, for that matter) is not going to use a book that is effectively illegal to buy in their state.

    A more effective approach to keeping the price to texts reasonable would be to require that state-run community colleges and universities use open-source books, at least for basic classes. Actually, I would say that all classes at a community college could be considered basic. This wouldn't affect private schools.

  • 6 months ago

    UC Davis is working on a plan to bring course material prices down and distribute them to all undergrads. The text book part of the plan is a $20/book charge. The plan is to roll it out in fall of 2020.

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  • ricky
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    You make a dent in becoming a communist country.

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  • 6 months ago

    No need for textbooks. Everyone has a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.

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