07/22/2010 12:54 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Textbook Regulations Promise To Lower Prices

Textbook costs can pack a pretty hard punch to the cash-strapped college student. Luckily, there is help in sight; the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 -- recently in effect -- will, in theory, lower textbook prices.

The Albany Times Union reports on how the relationship between textbook publishers and colleges will change:

Publishers are now required to disclose prices and revision information when marketing textbooks to professors, which will allow them to choose lower-cost options. Publishers now are required to offer all of the items in textbook bundles for sale separately so students won't be forced to pay for CDs or passcodes they don't need. Colleges are now also encouraged to provide the list of assigned textbooks for each course so students can shop around for the best deal.

Independent of the bill, many companies are finding ways to help offset the costs of school books. Onward State, the Pennsylvania State University blog, recently reported that is offering its Amazon Prime program to anyone with an .edu email address. The offer allows the subscriber to order books with free two-day shipping so that purchases can be made only when his or her schedule is set.

Textbook rental services are also cropping up across the internet. lists BookSwim and Books Free as two examples of locations for subscription based book rental, a cheaper option than buying. In fact, some of the rental services, like Chegg and BookRenter, donate to charity on the renter's behalf.

What do you think? How do you cope with textbook costs? Weigh in below.