Why Do College Textbooks Cost So Much Money?
School districts provide textbooks to students at taxpayer expense in high schools. But in college, students have to buy their textbooks at exorbitant prices. The cost of one book is between $100 – $200 or even more. The total expenditure on books for one year can be more than $1000. And it is not possible to study without them. The price of the books is the same for both a community college or a private university.
The Reasons for the High Cost of Textbooks
Faculty members choose college textbooks: Some professors select expensive books. They also choose to use books authored by themselves.
Cost of promotional copies: To promote their books, publishers offer free copies to college professors. They include the cost of these copies in the book prices.
Less number of second-hand textbooks: Fewer books are available because new editions are released frequently.
Includes supplies: The cost of books covers the cost of calculators, lab necessities, and other supplies for the lab, science, and art classes.
Supplemented by online resources: Many textbooks have online companions to complement them. Their subscription fee also forms a part of the price of the books.
Current material: A book about Shakespeare’s Hamlet may not change every year. But college textbooks dealing with biomaterials, abnormal psychology, astronomy, and terrorism has to be revised every nearly every year to be up-to-date.
Specialized material: Fewer books covering special topics and detailed knowledge are available, so the publishers raise their prices.
Copyright fees: Publishers of anthologies have to pay fees to all the authors whose works are included.
Ways to Minimize Expenditure on Textbooks
Get books on rent: You can rent books from Amazon and save nearly 30%. Chegg.com also offers books on rent. But you have to use the books carefully and return them in good condition.
Make photocopies: If your professor uses only a small section of a textbook, make a photocopy of that part. Borrow a book for this purpose. But you cannot make copies of too many pages of a book, as that will infringe on the copyrights.
Borrow books: You can borrow books from students who have completed the course. Or you can ask your professor if he has a spare copy.
Use library books: You can go to the community or college library and check out textbooks.
Purchase books from your fellow students: If you know someone who is currently in a class that you plan to enroll within the next year, buy books from them. You can get them at a discount.
Sell your books: You can use the buy-back program and get back some of your investment. Sell back the books that you are not going to use in the future. Otherwise, use Craigslist or eBay to sell your books.
Opt for an electronic edition: If your professor allows you to use a laptop in class, you can buy an inexpensive electronic edition of the book.
Purchase books online: Several online bookstores offer a discount of nearly 20% on all books.
Purchase used books: Students can buy used books from college bookstores and save nearly 25%. But it is necessary to go there early because used books get sold very quickly.