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College Students Avoid Textbook Publisher Rip-off Prices

Updated on September 14, 2014

College is expensive enough, long before your get to buying textbooks for the classes. There are tuition costs, student loan costs, room and board costs, daily expenses for basics. Finally, school begins and the wallop of buying 1-3 new books per class at $50-75 a book smashes any hope of having surplus money. The sticker shock of what book publishers charge is nothing short of robbery. The book for a class may actually be authored by the professor. Talk about lining your pockets with money. The student s have no choice. Some new textbooks can hit $150 for one. The college textbook industry knows a good monopoly. They reap $7 billion yearly! In 1915 the most expensive textbook was about $2.50 for a Geometry textbook, or $54 dollars in today's money.

But, like those who want free TV shows and movies to watch on torrent websites, students find ways to avoid the rip off by buying used textbooks at 50% off the list price. That helps, but the bill still adds up, so many are finding them on a subscription website called, Scribd, where they find the e-textbook and download it. Members also upload scanned books that enlarges the availability. Many avoid the costs by borrowing one and photocopying it or portions of it, at least 25% of all students do this. Of course, like watching free movies using torrent sites, it is illegal, but WTF, free is free when you are at the bottom of the social stratum. There are also pirate websites with free textbooks. Some 20% of all students get their books from these websites. Oddly enough, students still prefer the old school way of having a "paper" textbook so they can mark it up etc. Even after downloading an e-book, they tend to create a paper copy..

Today, many students will pay anywhere from $600 - 1500 dollars for textbooks. If the students have to pay for them, out of their pocket, it is a crippling impact for awhile. What is worse is when they resell back to the bookstore on campus. A new textbook costing $150, slightly used after the semester is over, will fetch $20 in the buyback! When the book is put up for sale, it will be for $70. In a sampling of 400 textbooks sold between 2010 and 2012 on Amazon (considered one of the cheapest sources of textbooks), the average price is $133 per textbook. But, chemistry, physics, business law, human anatomy, accounting, finance, math, economics, and calculus all had textbooks that cost more than $200.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      I hear you!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 3 years ago

      Text book costs are definitely a huge area for potential savings! As an English major I was quite fortunate. Much easier to find a used copy of a novel than of a particular calculus book or biology text.