To Afford Expensive Textbooks, Students Look Beyond Bookstore

For many college students, offsetting the cost of tuition and fees has proven to be a big hurdle. But in recent times, these students have to factor in expensive textbooks that will aid them in successfully earning their degrees.

According to a survey conducted by the U.S Public Research Group (U.S. PIRG), seven in ten college students said that they had not purchased a textbook at least once because they found the prices to be too high. It is no surprise that college textbooks nowadays are ridiculously expensive; in another study by U.S PIRG the price of textbooks were tracked over a ten year period.

Over the last decade, the price of college textbooks have escalated. Since 2006, the cost of a college textbook increased by 73 percent, which is over four times the rate of inflation. Today, an individual textbooks often cost over $200 and sometimes as high as $400. These prices factor in all the additional content such as access codes to online resources and sometimes CDs. This is notwithstanding the ever changing editions, textbooks have become combined resources.

“I actually buy all my books, Amazon is the best place to get textbook because they are much cheaper” said WCC student Isatou Durkeh.

Despite all the additions and overall cost of textbooks, they are still an important part of academic success as such students have to make provisions to purchase them. Many WCC students are in the same predicament. For some students, the school’s bookstore is the best place to use of Financial aid to buy textbooks.

“I buy my textbooks, I only use financial aid so I’m restricted to the bookstore” said another student Farrah Jean- Louis.

On the other hand, it has proven more cost-efficient to use ecommerce sites such as Amazon, or online textbook companies such as Chegg and Slugbooks geared for access to sites that have the cheapest textbooks in used and new condition. For WCC students the avenues to purchase books varies.

“The best place to get textbooks is Amazon, I would rent through Amazon unless I can’t find a book then I will buy it through the school.” said student Christine Fills-Aime on the best way to obtain college textbooks.

So how can students combat these high priced college textbooks?

Book rentals appear to be easier as well as faster and also provides the ability to get ebooks. Another option to help with financing textbooks is to re-sell old textbooks. However, there are drawbacks to this, due to the fact that ever changing textbook editions value less.

“Reselling textbook is a good idea because you can get cash back and the textbooks won’t be wasted if you don’t need it again” said Durkeh.

“I never resold, but if I do it would be on ebay,” said Fills-Aime “Reselling through the school is ridiculous, how do you pay $200 for a book and only get back $5? At that point it’s not worth it.”

And so students aren’t left with a variety of options to purchase textbooks but professors can be the difference makers in particular circumstances. For certain courses, WCC Professors have used supplementary materials such as online journals and open educational books. This is a highly appreciated gesture that aids in lowering cost and making resources available to students.

“I have had professors who avoid textbooks and teach from their slides and articles,” said Fills-Aime “Other professors would assign an old edition of a textbook to keep our costs way down and I appreciate those professors.”

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