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College and High Priced Textbooks

Updated on October 20, 2014

Philosophy for the 21st Century

High Price of Textbooks

We have spent many years in college textbooks when our daughter went to the state university. She was looking at some private colleges. There was no way that we could afford a private college.

After the first semester of college, tuition went up $300 for the Spring semester. The following year tuition cost over $7,000. As the years went by, tuition kept going up. That doesn't even include the books, school supplies, meals, bus fair, apartment living, utilities, general shopping expenses and entertainment (when necessary).

Yes, she wanted to go to private collage. But before our daughter entered college, we did look into some private colleges. But once the price tag came out, well public college wasn't so bad. Especially when her dad said, "We will help pay your way through college". And we payed most of her way.

Let's talk about college textbooks. What makes some of these books so important that they can sell for more than $100 new? Most college books are disposable. Your student will use it for the one semester and then never have a need for it again. Do you think she will put it on her favorite reading shelf? Then, when her friends ask her to join them at the beach, do you think she will say, "Hey wait a minute, I will take along my 'PHILOSOPHY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY' book. That way, I can read it while soaking up some sun!"

Got College?

Campbell Biology (9th Edition)

Comparing Textbooks Websites

We have been comparing the price of textbooks between the University's bookstore and online websites. The University claims that they keep their prices down and don't make a profit off of the books. They even have a buy back the book program. Please!!! Anytime you sell back the books to a University or back to an online college book site (I checked this out), it is not a good deal. Our daughter, bless her, sold back most of her freshman textbooks from the fall semester to the bookstore. She brought this up, when I asked for the books. Because I was planning on putting them online to sell and I felt like screaming, when I found out that all she got back was about 25% of what we had paid.

Lately, whether it is the professors or some conspiracy plot, the textbooks needed for classes are listed within a week or a little more prior to when they start. Some professors do wait until classes had begin. This definitely makes it hard to get the best deal on overpriced (must be made of gold and diamonds) college textbooks.

At times, the university actually does come out ahead with used book prices. Most of the time I find a better deal online. You just have to compare. These are the two sites that I go to the most to find the best deals: T

he Gettextbooks site has a list of some rental sites. It is cheaper to rent. But is it really cheaper when you send it back? On the average seemed to win out. So does Amazon.

We ended up buying some of the books after classes started, because they weren't listed at the time. Isn't that a shocker!

Textbooks on Amazon are Available Here

Reading and Learning in Content Areas

Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others (4th Edition)

Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others emphasizes the importance of focusing on others in order to understand and improve interpersonal communication. Self concept, perception, listening and responding skills, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, conflict management, interpersonal relationships, and managing relationship challenges. Interpersonal communication.

Interpersonal Communication: Relating to Others - Used to New are Here!

UWM campus (background, upper left) and East Milwaukee (CC BY 2.0) (CC BY 2.0)

Sandburg Residence Halls


Dorms of UWM

The three towers in the center of the picture are the Sandburg Residence Halls.

Global Divas: Filipino Gay Men in the Diaspora (a John Hope Franklin Center Book) by Martin F. Manalansan


A lively ethnography of the global and transnational dimensions of gay identity as lived by Filipino immigrants in New York City, Global Divas challenges beliefs about the progressive development of a gay world and the eventual assimilation of all queer folks into gay modernity. Insisting that gay identity is not teleological but fraught with fractures and fissures, Martin Manalansan IV describes how Filipino gay immigrants, like many queers of color, are creating alternative paths to queer modernity and citizenship. In Global Divas, he makes a compelling argument for the significance of diaspora and immigration as sites for investigating the complexities of gender, race, and sexuality.


UWM is located about 4 miles from downtown Milwaukee, visible in the background of this photo. The intervening trees provide shade to the neighboring homes.

Stay Out Of The Dorms Joke

On the first day of college, the Dean addressed the students, pointing out some of the rules.

"The female dormitory will be out-of-bounds for all male students, and the male dormitory to the female students. Anybody caught breaking this rule will be fined $20 the first time."

He continued, "Anybody caught breaking this rule the second time will be fined $60. Being caught a third time will incur a hefty fine of $180. Are there any questions?"

At this point, a male student in the crowd inquired "How much for a season pass?"

Psychology, 10th Edition

Overpriced Apartment Off Campus

Overpriced Apartment Off Campus
Overpriced Apartment Off Campus

Help This Poor College Student Buy Textbooks - Without College - This Student Will Stay Dumb

College has made us financially poor

Find this t-shirt and other merchandise on

Have D.U.M.B Merchandise with Red Background

Have D.U.M.B Merchandise with White Background

You have D.U.M.B. The only cure is to make a purchase.

Copyright Notice

College and High Priced Textbooks Copyright: August 19, 2008 by Sandy Mertens. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing. You can, however, mention and link to the article here on HubPages

One of three residence towers

This view southward shows Sandburg towers, UWM's residence halls (dorms) in the foreground.

First year was the dorms.

© 2008 Sandy Mertens

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Good lens. I've passed college years ago but still find these resources interesting.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      As a college student, I know all about expensive textbooks. I wrote a lens about the ways I save on books. The best deal I got was a brand new text on Ebay for $0.99. The person that listed it didn't really put it into the correct category so I was the only person that bidded on it. :) I use several sites such as Abebooks, Ebay, Amazon,, etc... Also, I normally ask professors if I can get a previous edition of a text because they often say to get the newest because that's what the bookstore can still order. Then I resell the books back to the school bookstore or As long as I keep the books in good shape, I normally break even or make a little money.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      10 years ago from New Zealand

      I see my expensive future here. College text books are something i won't have to deal with for a few years anyway.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Great blog, there is a lot of good information on how to save money on textbooks. One site I love is They have good deals on new and used textbooks. I have saved even more money by renting and downloading eBooks. They also have a good student marketplace where I sell the books for more then what the local bookstores offer me. Check them out!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 

      10 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      nice lens sandy. now a days it is more and more expensive.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Royalton

      PS: I just lensrolled this lens to Handmade Quilt for College.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      10 years ago from Royalton

      My daughter is going through the same thing. She found that there was a very quick window of time when her textbooks would sell and ended up selling back to the bookstore because she was worried that she would not be able to sell before everyone had already bought their books for the next semester.

      Thank you for all the options. I will be passing this lens on to her.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      10 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Interesting. There are so many more options now for buying and selling college textbooks than when I attended college in the 1960's. We had the student story and another used bookstore in the town frequented by students. The Internet wasn't even in our thoughts back then, and the campus computer for which I had a job punching cards, was as big as a room. I doubt if anyone back then thought they'd someday be able to have a computer they could take to class with them. We still had to type and retype our papers, draft after draft.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      10 years ago

      Great information. It sure is expensive.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wonderful lens! If you get a chance, check out mine on personal finance tips for college students! :)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for all of this information! I created a lens which you might like: What Jobs Can I Get With A Bachelors In Science?

    • annetteghallowe1 profile image

      Annette Geiger 

      11 years ago

      I think you daughter got more from her college than mine. When she sold over $400 worth of books she got back less than $50. I am lensrolling this into my !

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Gee 

      11 years ago

      When my daughter graduated, she brought home all her stuff. I found many textbooks in the boxes and sold them on Amazon.

      But, like you, she usually forgot to bring the books home for me to sell online. She was after the quick buck and sold them to the bookstore--if they offered to buy it.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very informative!

    • draik profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for joining Shopping Online Group. Your lens was added to our feature module and it will appear randomly.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens. It's an expensive business, going to college.

    • SandyMertens profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      11 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      [in reply to WindyWinters] My problem is my daughter keeps forgetting to bring them home so I can list them. And this time around we were only to buy 2 books online. The other professors didn't list the material until after classes resume. It's a conspiracy.

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      11 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      We paid for textbooks for the 1st year, only. Then the kids got jobs, took out student loans, resold their textbooks either to classmates or friends, through campus bookstores, advertising on student boards, newspapers,, exchanged with friends or plain got stuck with them. They were also lucky & were able to buy quite a few used textbooks and saved money that way. I have quite a few so I will relist them on by the end of the week if anyone is interested. It's an on going battle with textbooks. ;)

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      11 years ago from Royalton

      Great resources for college textbooks.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Very informative! =]

    • ZenandChic profile image


      11 years ago

      Wow! College is expensive.

    • SandyMertens profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      12 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      [in reply to nightbear] You are so right! And the bad thing about it, after 4 or more years of college - will there be a job waiting our there for them.

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 

      12 years ago

      I don't think kids can even go to college without the support of parents. It is really really expensive and it is ridiculous that it is even that experience.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Nice lens! You have some great information on how students can save money on their textbooks. This is very useful, especially with the economy we have. Excellent work and thanks for sharing.

      5 *****

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Great lens on college book related costs. I always tried to buy used books in college to save money and I do not look forward to the cost of books when my two children attend college.

    • profile image

      Lexi LM 

      12 years ago

      My grandson is off to college next year and will have to deal with all this. I will send him to this lens.

    • profile image

      Lexi LM 

      12 years ago

      My grandson is off to college next year and will have to deal with all this. I will send him to this lens.

    • awakeningwellness profile image


      12 years ago

      I can remember spending over $100 for one of my daughter's textbooks that the professor never even had them use! Quite the racket...

    • flutestar123 lm profile image

      flutestar123 lm 

      12 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      There is some great info here, I have three and a half more years before my daughter is

      off to college . i did not know text books where so high

    • go206th profile image


      12 years ago

      I was shocked at the price of text books when my son began college a few years ago. we spent nearly 500 on a combination of new and used books. Great lens 5*

    • profile image

      bgamall lm 

      12 years ago

      Cute lens. Helpful for serious college wanna bees.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      12 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Nice lens with lots of useful information. 5***** I only had to buy 4 or 5 books the whole time I was at college, I think it's a lot different over here to in England, plus the course I was doing we didn't need them.

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 

      12 years ago

      Lots of information here. I just finished massage therapy school and we had to buy our books through the school. Too bad. 5*

    • profile image

      YourCover Mama 

      12 years ago

      I would save SOOOOO much money buying my books on amazon. I would recommend it to anyone. One year I spent $1,000, the next year I only spent about $400.

    • SandyMertens profile imageAUTHOR

      Sandy Mertens 

      12 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      [in reply to Mortira] I agree about the professors and making the students buy the most resent book, even though the earlier version is nearly identical.

      In the state of Wisconsin, all public colleges and most private colleges employ the students as cashiers in the bookstores. They get paid barely over minimum wage.

      The big problem is the greedy publishers and the professors that have a stake in it.

    • Mortira profile image


      12 years ago

      A lot of professors write their own texts, and 'revise' them often so that students have to purchase new. It's seems like such a scam. Another reason that books are so expensive at many schools, is that the cashier in the bookstore is in a union, and makes 3 times the minimum wage. Pretty sad. Thanks for highlighting the issue!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      12 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Way back when I went to school, I had to sell my books about once a month to get some spending money. The book store would save them for me until I could buy them back. Great lens with some very good points. 5*


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