CarriageTowneNews.com, Kingston, NH

Special Features

August 8, 2013

Taming the cost of textbooks

In an era when digital books can be downloaded to an e-reader for a few dollars, students may feel it foolish to shell out several hundred dollars for a hardcover textbook that will only be used once. Many college students are shocked at the cost of their textbooks. In fact, many students do not take textbook costs into consideration when budgeting for school, only to have their jaws drop at the checkout counter of their campus bookstore.

The cost of textbooks has been an issue on college campuses for years. Many elementary and high school students do not have to pay directly for their textbooks, but college students must pay for their books.

There are a number of ways to curtail costs. One of the reasons behind the high sticker price for college textbooks is the copyright fees publishers of large anthologies must pay to every author who contributed to a book. Such costs can quickly add up. When there isn’t a large demand for the books, publishers will not make much money if they don’t charge more for the books.

Another reason for the high cost of textbooks is that some are accompanied by online companion resources. The publishers build the price of these resources into the cost of the book.

An additional contributing factor to students’ high textbook tabs could be the faculty at their college or university. Some professors are not sensitive to the cost of books, selecting books they like or even ones they authored themselves without considering the price of such texts.

Supply and demand may also influence the cost of textbooks. When too many textbooks are in circulation, there is no longer a high demand. So publishers make money by continually issuing new volumes with an item or two changed to justify the purchase of a new book.

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