The price isn’t always right — The toll expensive textbooks take on college students


It’s the ultimate struggle. The impending doom which creeps on throughout the summer until August finally nears and it’s time to check Textbook Express on VandalWeb. It may seem like a silly thing to stress out about, but in this economy, the price of college textbooks has become a real problem. Which brings me to the question — why are textbooks so expensive?

Type in “why are textbooks” on google and the first thing that pops up in the search bar is “so expensive,” leaving me with the comfort of knowing I cannot be the only one struggling with the horror that is paying for textbooks every fall and spring semester. There is really nothing more frustrating than spending outrageous amounts of money on a book, while still trying to keep up with other bills and student fees.

In a study collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s consumer price index data, the price of college textbooks has increased 812 percent since 1978. A considerable percentage higher than those of homes and health-care. Not only do students now have to deal with the rising costs of tuition, but they also have to sit back and watch as their textbook prices take a turn for the worst. Let’s be real, who really wants to drop $150 on one textbook for a single class that quite possibly might not even be a part of your major? It is, simply put, pure nonsense. Let’s not even get started on how little that expensive textbook might be used throughout the semester, too.

All of this just leaves me wondering why … and although I’d love to answer that probably very complex economical question, unfortunately, I don’t believe I’m the right person to. Truth be told, I have no idea why textbooks are so expensive and I wish there was an easier way to understand it. Sure, type in the question on google and find dozens of different articles attempting to explain why textbooks are so expensive, but I find it very hard to believe there isn’t a way to lower the prices, if even just a smidge. Even through all of the mess that is purchasing textbooks, I have managed to find one technique that has saved me a lot of money over the past three years.

The place I’ve found to be the best option for textbooks is Amazon. Through Amazon one can simply rent a textbook for much cheaper than purchasing and return it at the end of the semester. This is a much cheaper option, and, if at the end of the semester a student wants to keep the book, they have the choice of purchasing it. In addition to this, students can obtain a discount on Amazon Prime, which allows for free two-day shipping, leaving little to no room for stress on whether or not a textbook will arrive on time for that first tedious assignment. Renting from Amazon has been a go-to ever since my freshman year and hasn’t failed me yet.

There’s really no way to stop the constant increase and insane pricing of college textbooks, so all students can do now is hope. Hope that something will change in the near future to alleviate the pain of emptying an entire wallet for a simple book.

Savannah Cardon can be reached at or on Twitter @savannahlcardon

Related Posts
1 comment
  1. Check out It offers a unique time-saving, money-saving feature: Multi-Price Search. It lets students enter the ISBNs for all the textbooks they need, then instantly displays which combination of stores offers the lowest total price for all textbooks. It’s the fastest, easiest way to save the most money on textbooks.