CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–College textbook publishing and retail giants Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Pearson Education, Follett Higher Education Group and Barnes & Noble College Bookseller are targets of a proposed national class-action filed by college students. The suit claims the companies conspired to restrict sales of textbooks to a specific online format from on-campus bookstores in order to foreclose competition and raise prices.
“Students should not be gouged because publishers are facing a changing industry, and we want to put the power of competitive pricing back where it belongs – with the students.”
According to FeganScott’s managing partner Beth Fegan, who is representing the students, the agreements require students to obtain their required course materials from an “Inclusive Access” program by paying full-price for a digital access code from their official on-campus bookstore. When the semester ends, students lose access to the textbook, eliminating the possibility to resell to secondary purchasers.
“Textbooks have always been a major expense for college students, but for most, the free market allowed them to purchase or resell used textbooks to blunt the cost,” Fegan said. “These agreements rob students of that option, forcing them to play by the rules set by publishers and bookstores.”