Soaring textbook prices

Classes start next Thursday for me, which means I’ll soon be spending hundreds on textbooks. I recall one semester at UM when I spent nearly $900 on books for four classes and barely cracked three of them. In fact, if anyone is interested in a never-opened Paleoanthropology textbook, let me know.

Anyway, ordering on Amazon has definitely kept costs down. I just get angry with the new editions that come out every year with minimal changes — perhaps the colors of a graph have been modified or some useless CD-ROM has been added. Last spring, I purchased a textbook that had just come out. I hated paying so much but figured maybe the buyback would be decent (yeah, right) since the course was only a couple months long. Nope. When I tried to sell it back, the manager told me a new addition was about to come out in the fall, so really, my new textbook was old. Two new editions in one year?! What kind of racket is this?

I know it’s tough everywhere and schools like Oakland Community College are looking for solutions. The Board of Trustees has requested that the College Academic Senate create a task force to explore ways of bringing book costs down. It’s about time that schools take a serious look at this problem — it’s a shame that these ridiculous textbook costs are preventing student enrollment.

Depending on my textbook costs, I may be selling one gently used kidney. I’ll let you know.

4 Comments so far

  1. John Bartkowicz (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 4:26 pm

    You need to find the international editions that “are not to be sold in America”, but are perfectly legal despite the disclaimer. Use Ebay’s Last semester I cut my book costs from $400 to $180.

  2. Stacey (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 5:29 pm

    Great idea. I just saved a ton last semester on a textbook by purchasing the international edition.

  3. Sean (unregistered) on December 28th, 2005 @ 11:03 pm

    I used to buy my textbooks and got them at 70% lower than what my campus book store was offering at. What is cool about the site was that it had all the course textbook bundles for my school. All I had to do was select from a list of books and click a compare button. The site looks brand new. I hope they survive. We are the ones that benefit most from a site like that.

  4. Tom (unregistered) on February 7th, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

    The bookstores rip you off! I go to Penn State and i’ve been buying international editions. International editions are a good idea but sometimes they are very poor quality and the paper is so thin I can barely read a few pages before my eyes go crazy. I found that some international editions are high quality. I found a site this semester, , that sells only high quality international editions. I bought two of my books and they were printed in the US on high quality paper, in color, and one was a hardcover. I wish I had found them sooner, saved $$$

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