If you think you are alone in thinking that college textbook prices are absurd, you are not alone! The burning question in every college student’s mind has to be, “Why do colleges price their textbooks so high if they already make money off of us, to begin with from tuition prices?” This is a very interesting question in and of itself. It does seem, though, that colleges have no right charging these outrageous prices. At Wright State University where I am attending college, I have paid as much as $190.00 for one book alone. Granted, it was a thick book, but what do colleges have to gain by charging exorbitant prices for textbooks? In addition, what do publishers have to gain by introducing a new version of the textbook each year and sometimes more than once per year?
Some people would argue that if there was no black market for college textbooks than colleges would not have to sell books at such a high rate. How could this be true, though, if the main reason that college students buy and sell used textbooks is that a college campus is setting the price way high above their head? Fortunately for the average college student, there are other options to buy their textbooks rather than give in to outrageous prices at their own campus.
First, one can look at eBay or Amazon.com to get a heads-up on some of the prices for used textbooks. This can be not only a worthwhile endeavor but a real money-saver in the long run. Sometimes you will be able to find a used and in good condition book for pennies on the dollar, but other times you’ll be able to save half or more than half of what you would normally have spent at your college bookstore!
Another suggestion for students to use is to buy older versions of their textbooks. Sometimes even college professors will tell you that buying an older version of the book will be okay. Usually, if you buy the second oldest version of the book you’ll be okay for your college courses because college textbooks do not change much from version to version. However, if you are buying a textbook that is 5 or 6 versions older than the one that is prescribed for class, then you could be in trouble. But in general, buying a slightly older textbook won’t hurt you at all. The most confusion you normally run into is noticing that the chapters are switched around when comparing it to the most recent version.
After you’re done with your textbooks selling them online or taking them to a used college bookstore will give you money to buy more textbooks online. Buy selling your books on Amazon.com or Half.com, however, you’ll probably receive more than if you sold them back at your college bookstore. Other students are looking for these same books so why not provide them with the textbook that you bought online also?
Until college campuses around the United States realize that college students do have enough money to pay for both tuition and college textbooks, students will continue and should continue to boycott these high prices in return for used books for their money. College students do not deserve to be kicked around just because colleges think that they have a monopoly on their own campus! Students can even work as a secondary science tutor, since they have to pay for their college and books. This way they can reduce the financial burden on them.