As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, new rules concerning the timely selection of course texts by faculty will go into effect on July 1, 2010. The rules are set out in section 112 of the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315). According to the Chronicle:
The new federal rules have three goals: to provide students more time to shop around for deals on books; to ensure that campus bookstores know by buyback time which books will be used again; and to allow students to consider the costs of books and other required materials when deciding whether to register for a course.
To meet those ends, the new rules require publishers to tell bookstores how much they'll charge them for the textbooks; provide general descriptions of changes that have been made in new editions (so that faculty members can decide whether to assign the new version); and unbundle textbook packages [that include workbooks, CD's, DVD's, and other media, which make the book more expensive] before selling them, unless doing so would make the book unusable.
The law calls on colleges and their stores to provide, at preregistration time, ISBN's and textbook prices on the electronic course schedule "to the maximum extent practicable."