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College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

Last post Wed, Dec 18 2013 4:52 PM by glenns. 21 replies.
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  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 4:52 PM

    College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

     I know this has come up here before, but I couldn't find the post. DH just bought his books for this semester, and they were a staggering $650!! It was $200 for a Spanish textbook. It's a "new edition," and because it utilizes the internet and a new disk of information, you can't use the old edition. What can they possibly have figured out about teaching Spanish that they didn't know last year, or two years ago, that requires an all new book? We were both shocked and a bit taken aback. Only two of the books are even hard covers, and one he has to buy a binder for because it's just an unbound book that fits into a 3-ring (and it was over $100!!). 

    There's no rental program on his campus, and he was unable to find the books online for less money (he did manage to do this last semester). He's currently checking to see how many of these books will see him through both semesters, since almost everything he has is a two-semester class. We're hoping that he won't have to purchase new ones for next semester, as well. 

    I am appalled (again--this happens every semester, but this is particularly bad). There's no reason for colleges to keep changing books like this. No breakthroughs requiring a whole new cirriculum happen in most fields of study *that* often--certainly not every two years, which is about how long most colleges are keeping their text books these days. DH is going to go in and talk with his advisor, and he's actually considering trying to stage a protest or something on campus. He's just trying to figure out what would be effective. But, he's not the only person for which this is a problem. Many of the kids who are on scholarships simply don't have the money for books. For most of the classes, there's no a significant poriton online, for which you must purchase your own "code," which means a new textbook ,and can't use someone else's. So, sharing is not even an option for many classes now.


    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

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  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 6:03 PM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    My dd is going to a local 2 year college and yes her text books are alot each semester as well most books for her run about $60-$160 . She has had a few classes so far where most of your assignments are to rip out the pages the pages of the books (requested by the teacher) last sememster she was able to photocopy the pages but that was still alot of pages I would say around 100-200 pages.. if she sells the books back to the book store at the end of the sememster they usaully just want to give you about $20 or less per book back or they don't use that book the next sememster also the books with disks can't be resold either so u are a nice book collections of useless books at the end of your 2 yeas...

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  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 6:37 PM In reply to

    • Juana
    • Top 200 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Sat, Aug 13 2011
    • Cincinnati
    • Posts 180

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    I finished school in 2007 so maybe it's been a while, but I used to always buy the previous year's edition of the textbooks, used and online. It never really made a difference as far as the learning material- the only thing is that sometimes the page numbers were slightly off, but never so much that I got behind or couldn't figure it out. It does make a HUGE difference in price, though. My favorite site to use was abebooks.com.

    Also, a lot of the time the school library is required to keep all textbooks for all classes available- as in they can't be checked out. So if your husband has a class where reading isn't required too often, or it's a small textbook, he might just be able to use the library copy, or make copies of it to bring home! Depending on how much the copies are and how many pages he needs, that could be cheaper than buying the book.

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 7:04 PM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    200.00 for a text OH cRAP now that is a budget breaker woofff??!! try ebay if not there go to amazon for the used versions if not that go to a student who iws trying to sell a text book and good luck.Tongue Tied

  • Wed, Aug 17 2011 8:21 PM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    Clark Howard has a list of  textbook comparsion websites and we found all (7 books) but 2 of my sons for less than  $40. The other 2 were only at college and you had to buy new to get the Key for the internet and they were over $200.00. I usually have gift cards to amazon from swagbucks so I use them on his textbooks but this time they weren't added until after he needed them. He started class today and I just got the g/c yesterday. I would look into checking them out at the library or seeing if the previous edition would work.
  • Thu, Aug 18 2011 1:53 AM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

     Those prices are so hurtful to students now when they emerge from college carrying such heavy loan obligations. Can you get a newspaper to do a story on this one? This is inded an outrage. We want our kids to get educations, and they must carry  a burden for years in order to do so.

  • Thu, Aug 18 2011 8:34 AM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    It is terrible what they charge for textbooks, and I agree with Falcon, what could have possibly changed that they need a new book every 2 years.  College is expensive enough without all these "required" books that you have to purchase and at the end of the class the book store will buy them back for almost nothing.  How can a $200 text book that you have only used for one semester now only be worth $25?  DS#1's freshman year he had an art class that had a supply list in the syllabus that was HUGH. DS#1 bought all the supplies and then the first day of class the professor said, "OH by the way, you don't need all those supplies, I didn't have time to change the syllabus before it went out"!  Talk about UPSET, luckliy we were able to return all the uneeded supplies and DS#1 learned to WAIT until the first day of class before buying any supplies.  He also had a professor that required them to purchase a brand new edition book for a class that they NEVER used one time the entire semester. 

    My DH graduated from college in July.  His last semester he had to have a code manual for one of his classes.  He bought it at the bookstore ($150), it was not a hardback book.  When he opened it up the first time, several pages FELL OUT of the book.  He complained to the book store and was told, "yeah, we know but we can't do anything about it, all of them are that way"!  Every person in his class ended up taking their book apart and putting them in 3-ring binders because they came completely apart in a very short time.  High priced book that falls apart when you open it the first time is just not right.

     

     

    When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep is your downfall. - Unknown
  • Thu, Aug 18 2011 8:42 AM In reply to

    • MamaJ
    • Top 100 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Nov 5 2009
    • Posts 963

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

    Juana:
    I finished school in 2007 so maybe it's been a while, but I used to always buy the previous year's edition of the textbooks, used and online. It never really made a difference as far as the learning material- the only thing is that sometimes the page numbers were slightly off, but never so much that I got behind or couldn't figure it out. It does make a HUGE difference in price, though. My favorite site to use was abebooks.com.
     

    Juana, I've done the same thing, and found that most instructors were okay with it. I had one instructor who would even give page number assignments for both the new and the old edition!

    Another solution is to get together with a couple other people from the class and share the books. It can be a challenge to coordinate schedules, but for some of the more expensive books, it's well worth it. I had a music history course years and years ago and there was a set of CDs required, I think three of us went in on them together. (This was back before mp3 and downloading music and whatnot.)

  • Thu, Aug 18 2011 9:02 AM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

     College book stores are almost always the most expensive way to buy required materials.  I have read that one can find them online at various sites for a decent savings.  Also, some textbooks are available "for rent" from online sites.  Encourage dh to just keep looking when his next round of book buying is needed.  Requiring expensive new editions, etc. is a good profit machine for colleges, which is why they do this.  Best advice it to save as much $ as possible to pay for these.  

    Lorrie

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Thu, Aug 18 2011 10:01 AM In reply to

    Re: College Text Book Costs are Outrageous!

     I appreciate all the suggestions. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, most of them we've looked into and aren't an option.  While the library is required to keep copies of the textbooks, they do not have the "Codes" you need to register for the online stuff in classes, and to get a code (at least for two of semester's books), you must buy a book. You can't share codes, because that code is what is used to figure your grade, as each code is assigned to a student and all his online work for that class is done under that code. There's no way around it. This applies to renting online, becasue those books don't come with the codes; so, even for the one book for which he can buy a code without a book, the cost of renting, shipping, and then buying a code is almost exactly the same as just buying the book outright.

    Some books are unrentable for other reasons: Two are lab manuals in which the pages have to be turned in (he hasn't found anyone who photocopied the pages and therefore still has the book, though he's tried). Those are unrentable, and the cost online is the same as in the bookstore.

    Last year, we saved about $200 in books buying them online, and none of them had these stupid internet "codes." I am wondering if the colleges and/or book manufacturers were getting wise to that and losing money, so started in with all this code business. They say it helps Professors grade more efficiently, but at $400+ a credit hour, I think Professors can grade their own stuff and not rely on the internet to do it for them. There are only 10-20 people per class., these aren't huge lectures with 300 people! I understand what a huge advantage the internet and online teaching tools can be, but most of what DH is seeing in these books is simply fill-in-the-blank questions, multiple choice quizes, etc. that get entered online instead of turning in a paper. 

    I love the idea of doing a newpaper article on this! That is a fantastic suggestion, and I have a few friends who work at the local paper. I'm going to give them a call and see if they can get the editor interested!

    "This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in oncomming traffic." -Terry Pratchett

    Blog: www.shwankie.net
    Twitter: EclecticEdibles
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