High cost of Textbook

High cost of Textbook

High cost.

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In many College institutions most students face the burden of high text book costs as it is a necessity to improve once learning. It is also essential in reference purpose and as a good revision kit for knowledge based reading. The financial crunch has however become an overburden to bear books have become increasingly expensive. Most textbooks are overpriced because as librarians put it, they come in packages that include CDS and other supplementary materials. Most students just want the books and do not require such necessities.

The suppliers control the market and the publishers set the price leaving no room for bookstore to control. This generally means that textbooks are overpriced. According to US Department on Student Financial assistance admitted in 2007 that prices of college books were kept artificially high even though there was huge demand from buyers. The association of American Publishers established that there was a blame game between publishers and bookstores on the rising cost of books (Hart, 2013).

`In 2011 and 2012 “students paid, on average, $1,168 for textbooks and supplies (Jones 66)”. According to a survey of students at Daytona State college 29% reported they “did not purchase a required textbook at least once due to cost, 24% blamed textbook prices for taking fewer credit hours, and 15 % said that textbook expenses was an influence of their choice of major (Jones 66)”. The percentage of students influenced by costs of textbooks is alarming. This is something that needs to be looked over and carefully reconsidered so that students are not struggling due to financial reasons for textbooks. All of this data collected is in addition to escalating tuition costs.

Students bear the financial burden of the high cost of textbooks every semester. According to research, “A 2005 General Accounting Office report found that textbook prices had increased 186% between 1986 and 2004 while general inflation had risen only 72% (Jones 67)”. The primary reason for the increase of textbooks was the result of “increasing demand for products that company the textbooks such as CD-ROM’s, web-based tutorials, self-assessment tools, videos, etc. (Jones 67)”. Research also concluded that the “more frequent revision cycle for textbooks has…contributed to increased costs (Jones 67). It has been shown that “after the first year of publication, the secondary market of used textbooks flood sales outlets with enough used copies to significantly affect the sale of new editions…[therefore] publishers make no money on the sale of used textbooks [so] they will print a new edition and discontinue the sales of the previous edition (Jones 67).”

Although many bookstores offer a buy-back program, “unfortunately textbooks depreciate at an alarming rate (Jones 67)”. Therefore after a typical semester, which is approximately 125 days, the price of the textbooks will have decreased by about 50 percent or more depending on the condition of the textbooks.

The bookstores in campus are usually nonprofit and try as much as possible to remain relevant thus finding low cost books and shelving them for students to accrue. This make the bookstore active but will also make original books expensive as the market will be flooded low margin books. The students had serious concerns about how textbooks were assigned and how textbook inflation was affecting the cost of higher education. Other moves by the textbook industry, such as issuing new editions, also drive up the cost according to a 2011 survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

New editions are released on average every 3.9 years, but a 2008 report from the California state auditor found many college deans, department chairs and faculty members admitted revisions to textbooks are often minimal and not always warranted. They were very dependent on the used book market as a way to keep their costs down. If they cannot sell their books back because a faculty member decided not to continue using a certain text they are adept at using Internet sites to sell their books to a national audience. Other ingenious ways to work the system included buying books on the international market using the Internet, sharing texts, using those books already on reserve, relying on interlibrary loan, and taking a gamble by not buying the required books. Online books stores are growing popular, because they offer cheap college textbooks. The introduction of online companions made books available from online resources. Open education resources made available via the web, will lead to downfall of traditional books. ( Howle, 2008)

The plant cost of a college text is much higher than in the trade, and college texts don’t have the bulk of their sales at the date of publication. So college publishers spread those costs to pair them with the useful life of a book’s widely used industry estimate for the average investment to create the master copy of a college textbook is $750,000. This is much higher than in the trade, where only superstar authors drive the cost up to that figure and beyond. If you think you can sell 25,000 copies of that book, that gives you a per-unit charge of $30 — and that does not include paper, printing, and binding. This is one of the reasons college texts cost so much.

Publishers make no money when too many used books are in circulation. As a consequence, they will often release new editions every few years in order to make the used books obsolete. Book publishers make money only when college professors adopt their books. This often means that they send free review copies to potential instructors. The cost of this practice is offset by the high price students pay for books (Hart, 2013).


Howle, E. (2008). Affordability of college textbooks: Textbook prices have risen significantly in the last four years, but some strategies may help to control these costs for students. (pp. 37-89).

Hart, C. (2013). High price: A neuroscientist’s journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society. New York: HarperCollins.