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I read a very interesting article .. going to share with you.


Why College Textbooks Are Expensive?

There are plenty of reasons why college textbooks are expensive. The high cost of textbooks and the skyrocketing tuition fees are the primary concerns of parents and students.

Before the next semester starts, take time to unravel from last semester’s projects and prepare for the coming months. For textbook updates and tips, you might as well read thoroughly and get inside the textbook industry.

Do you want to know the reasons why publishers charged in exorbitant prices? This article will open your eyes to the textbook industry to help you save money.

I know you are excited for the next semester, and probably you are preparing for new set of textbooks to ace you on top of your academic journey. If you were given the chance to compute how much spent on textbooks last semester, the figures are shocking. Isn’t it? College textbooks are not cheap. In fact, an individual textbook may cost you around $100 to $200.
That’s why it is very important to take note of your expenses as references to offset the high costs this fall with alternatives. Highly possible that over $1,000 year for textbooks alone have been spent.

Welcome to the world of textbooks! Textbook market is different from the trade book market where consumers buy the products based on personal choice and freely pay for it. Textbook market was coined by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance as “broken.”

Textbook market resembles the health care market. Doctors prescribe the medicines regardless of the cost. Patients don’t have a choice but to buy it, even if it costs thousands of dollars for recovery.
In textbook market, professors recommend the textbooks, and students buy them, regardless of the cost, to get all the required resources for the whole semester. In that situation, the textbook market is more of supply-driven, producer-centric market, rather than demand-driven, consumer-centric market.

Apparently, with the emergence of digital publishing, the textbook market is finally shifting its gears. Private organizations together with universities and professors are making progress in resolving the high costs of textbooks with advocacy on open content resources and free online textbooks.

Here’s what I have found why textbooks are expensive:

Inelastic demand – students who want to pass the courses have to buy textbooks.

Oligopolistic supply – there is only a handful of publishers dominating the market. They can control the prices of textbooks.

Production costs – college textbooks are printed in highly specialized materials that include reports, graphs, and images. With the low volume of published books, publishers have no choice but to hike the prices.


Universities Operational Costs – college bookstores add a markup price for textbooks to compensate operational costs in the bookstore. A contributor of Minding The Campus mentioned in her essay, “College bookstores, which typically charge some of the highest retail prices, tend to be profit centers for their universities.”

Tight Competition Against Other Textbooks - James Joyner of Outside the Beltway coined this on his blog. The sale of textbooks depends on Professors’ recommendation. ‘What the professor recommends, students buy.’

Many Used Textbooks in Market - publishers have no choice but to release new editions of printed materials because they make no money on these used textbooks. The new publications cost high, but this is the only way to make used textbooks obsolete.

Royalties and Freebies Textbooks - the fact that professors receive free complementary copies of textbooks assigned for each class. Clueless of high retail prices, they recommend these textbooks to students. Professors receive royalty fees from textbooks they have written. Usually they recommend their books to students. This was reasoned out by a contributing author of Minding the Campus.

There is a plethora of reasons why college textbooks are expensive. The list goes on. Apparently, organizations and universities with the intervention from the government are taking steps on how to lower the costs of college textbooks.

Personally, college education is no joke, and parents pay the price for the children’s future. It is how we see things that will change the way we rant about them. College textbooks are expensive if you see them as a requirement. However, college textbooks are worth buying if you see them as investments for your future.

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