Alex White TD has welcomed the commitment by the main educational publishers to give substantial discounts to schools that run book rental schemes.

The commitment was made to the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, TD this week at a meeting with representatives of the publishers which was called to discuss proposals to reduce the cost of school books for parents.  

This was the second meeting with the publishers since the Minister took up office.  

Minister Quinn had proposed that schools which purchase textbooks in bulk should be given a significant discount.  

The majority of publishers confirmed for the Minister that schools which purchase in bulk for book rental schemes will benefit from discounts in the range 12% - 17.5%.  

They also clarified aspects of a voluntary Code of Practice to which eight publishers have now signed up. Implementation of the code of practice means there will be no revisions to existing textbooks for four years unless there are changes required because of curriculum and / or examinations changes.  

Old editions will be kept in print for two years (unless annual sales fall below 500 copies).   This means that, in future, a new edition of a textbook will be available for a minimum of six years.   Publishers also confirmed that revisions to textbooks will be available online.

Deputy White welcomed the role of the National Parents Councils who have provided the Department with information about examples of best practice of book rental schemes in operation in order to encourage more schools to introduce such schemes.

Deputy White said, “The Government’s objective in proposing these measures is to ensure that costs to students and their families are kept to a minimum and I believe that the steps achieved to-date will contribute substantially to achieving this objective.  

“I will continue to support the Minister’s efforts on this issue over the coming months.”