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Why are book costs so insane?

Book costs are rising and students are feeling the pinch in their pocket books. Photo by: Megan Brandrup

Book costs are rising and students are feeling the pinch in their pocket books. Photo by: Megan Brandrup

By: Megan Brandrup

One thing all students need to have for their classes are books. Remember the good ol’ days when you were in high school and the books were free? How great was that? Well, you’re in college now, and you now get to pay for the books you once took for granted.

The national average cost for books is $834 per student according to FinAid.Org. The cost of books for full-time college students has gone up 812 percent since 1978 according to an online article by the Why is the cost so high? There are a few reasons for this actually.

The first reason is printers and book publishers need to make a profit. College textbooks take a long amount of time to create and put together. The cost of printing and binding the books is also very high. It is for this reason the book’s manufacturers charge such an egregious amount of money. The second reason is some teachers are not the greatest at comparing book prices. Now, this is not an invitation to go yell at your professor for picking such an expensive book. Sometimes, the most expensive book is the best option, or it may be the only option. When selecting books for courses, teachers often worry more about the content of a textbook rather than the price of the book. The final reason for high book costs is companies are now starting to bundle their textbooks with computer software. You may need the software as part of the course or even to be able to study for tests or submit assignments.

So how do we save money and avoid the pain of writing an $800 check to the bookstore? Used books are the answer! Due to the dramatically rising costs of books, many websites and even stores have been created to help students take the more cost effective route. One of the most popular online retailers of used books is Chegg is designed to help college students buy and sell new and used textbooks to other students all over the world! This website also allows students to rent textbooks to lower the costs even more. Another very well-known retailer for textbooks is Amazon has added a textbook section to their store and it has become more predominant in the past five years. These retailers have been known to save students upwards of $400 per semester on their books. Both of these retailers also pay for you to ship your books back.

Campus bookstores are not all bad and horrible (even though your wallet may disagree). Bookstores have made a greater effort in helping students save money on textbooks. The Waldorf College bookstore sells used textbooks students have sold back to them. Used books obviously cost much less to purchase than brand new text books. Bookstores have also began allowing students to rent textbooks for the semester for an even lower fee. The only way you would have to pay the cost of the book is if you damage or ruin the book.

So to my fellow students I say “fear the bookstore no more!” With these tips, you can save money and save yourself some stress. Next semester, take the time to do some online research and lower the costs of your books! Your parent’s checkbook, or maybe even your own, will thank you.