Thanks to Open Education News for clueing me into this recent news item from the University of New Mexico. Members of the UM PIRG group staged a protest over the state of textbook publishing by creating a textbook graveyard on their campus for the books that the campus store would not buy back. And the students have a solution, "At UNM, we're trying to get professors to sign an open-source textbook commitment and try and get them to switch their textbooks over to something more affordable and easier to obtain."
My first thought was let's have National Textbook Graveyard day every spring time to protest the state of publishing and promote open access textbooks. But then this got me wondering about the huge recycling problem colleges would have if millions of out-of-date textbooks were deposited in the middle of campuses across the country. Hmmm...that raises another issue connected to the textbook buyback market that I've never seen discussed. Isn't the rapid releasing of new editions--thus making the older versions worthless--an environmental sustainability issue? What about the thousands of trees that this market system is using each year? What about the energy used in the production and distribution of those texts? The energy and time necessary to recycle them?