Why Are College Textbooks Expensive?

why do college textbooks cost so much expensive

At high school, students usually get high school textbooks provided by the school district at the expense of taxpayers. This won’t happen in college – their students will have to buy or rent textbooks which can be really expensive as it’s calculated that a college student will have to spend between 600$-1500$ on textbooks per year.

This is expensive for a couple of textbooks even for college-level courses – Let’s find out why college textbooks are expensive and what you can do to save money on textbooks (+a couple of methods to get free textbooks online that are legal and safe)

Cost of College Textbooks

College books are not cheap – well there are cheaper versions available but most textbooks can cost from 100-250$ per book. Imagine a student has to purchase around 2-3 textbooks per semester and they will have to spend around 250-750$ on textbooks.

Whether you are in an ivy league college or community college won’t matter when it comes to textbooks. So let’s first find out why these textbooks are expensive.

  • Quality Materials: Materials used to produce textbooks such as hardcovers, and printing costs can be high for textbooks. Therefore material costs can be added to the textbook cost before setting the price tag of the textbooks. Usually, hardcover textbooks cost way more.
  • Copyright Fees: Publications will need to pay copyright fees for every author involved in writing the textbook. For example, a textbook for a poetry class might include hundreds of copyrights making the textbook price higher.
  • Content: Unlike fiction and non-fiction books – textbooks need to go through many updates since most subjects are still evolving. So, it could cost more to produce textbooks each year – making their price tags be more expensive.
  • Supplements: Most textbooks include supplementary materials to help out students, especially mathematics textbooks. Providing this kind of supplementary material can add additional expenses for textbook publications.
  • Reviews: Unlike other books, textbook publications only make money when college teachers or professors use their textbooks in class. This rarely happens for many good college textbooks – therefore making their price tags be expensive.

How to Save Money on College Textbooks

College textbooks can easily cost students around 600-1500$ per year. This can be a heavy burden on many students who don’t have it in their budget to afford this kind of expensive textbook. But for academic success referring to college textbooks are important.

There are a couple of ways that college students can get textbooks for cheaper prices and even for free. We’ve explored these methods that are legal and safe for students to use and listed them below. Feel free to use them to cut costs on college textbooks.

  • Buy Used Textbooks: Used textbooks cost way much less than new textbooks allowing you to save over 50% of money spent on new textbooks. But before purchasing pay attention to the edition of the textbook that you are going to use in the class.
  • Rent Textbooks: Some textbook retail sellers allow to rent textbooks – this can be a small period of time when students will need them. But it could save you money and save the trouble of selling or recycling old textbooks after you have no use for the textbook.
  • Buy Online: Purchase textbooks from online book vendors like Amazon, and VitalSource instead of buying from the campus store. This has proven to help students save over 20% money on textbooks.
  • eTextbooks: Instead of buying or renting hardcover textbooks or physical textbooks – opt for e-Textbooks which you can access from your electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops. Since e-Textbooks cost less than physical textbooks they will help students save even more money.
  • Free Textbooks: Even though many of these textbooks are not used for college classes – there are a lot of free textbooks online that you can download free of charge. You can use them to improve your knowledge of the subject you are taking in college.

The Conclusion

College textbooks can be more expensive which can have a price tag between 50-300$ depending on the textbook. However, there are ways you can get cheaper college textbooks and even free college textbooks using safe and legal methods – which will help students save over 1000$ per semester for sure.

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