I remember being excited on my first day of college. I felt prepared for the semester until my professor stated the cost of the textbook – $257.00. My eagerness to learn crumbled. I didn’t have a job, only had money for necessities, and couldn’t ask my mother, a new widow, for assistance in purchasing the book. After weighing all of my options, I decided to buy the much cheaper version from Chegg. My only problem – the book would take three weeks for delivery.
After three weeks of waiting, I finally received the book. My second problem – I had to cram three weeks of information into a two day weekend. Consequently, I didn’t do well on my first test. If I’d purchased the book on campus, I would’ve done much better. But then again, I wouldn’t have been able to go to class if I died of starvation. I had to cut my losses.
An article published on August 6, 2015 by Ben Popken of NBC News Online states that textbook prices have risen 1,041 percent since 1977. A spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition stated that textbook companies are increasing prices because students are required to purchase books that are assigned. Textbook companies are said to be similar to pharmaceutical companies. Patients who continuously need medication are given prescriptions by doctors in order to ensure an improved state of health, much like college professors who believe that textbooks increase academic success rates.
To counteract the high prices, students use third party textbooks sites such as Chegg or TextbookRush in an effort to buy cheaper, digital versions of their textbooks. Although prices are cheaper through alternative routes, digital versions are sometimes unavailable for certain courses, and hard copies can take up to four weeks for delivery, placing students behind in their courses.
Maybe one day textbook companies will decrease the prices of books, or possibly a new law may come into action that forbids an increase in book prices. Until then, students and parents will have to be prepared for the rising costs of textbooks.