Of all the textbooks used in the modern education system, the most expensive textbooks are usually the ones used in colleges. There are quite a lot of textbooks needed for the different college subjects and disciplines and this has exerted quite a heavy load on students who have to purchase new editions of textbooks every now and then. One part of the problem is that some college faculties demand that their students have the new editions of the textbooks. Sometimes there are limited options to get the textbooks in college bookstores (for example, only new versions offered instead of used or rental textbooks). Even if the students get the less expensive used textbooks, sometimes they experience some difficulties in studying as their teachers use special one time access codes that cannot be resold.
While most students make great financial efforts to pay their costly education fees, the publishers of some college textbooks are not making the situation any better. The prices of many basic texts keep going up as the sellers try to make profits or even cover rising costs. The textbook industry has become a very lucrative industry for some companies. In attempts to make great profits and/or cover costs, the publishers and sellers have made textbooks quite expensive and unaffordable for a few students. To acquire the minimum needed number of textbooks in college, students at some schools spend an average of nearly $1,000 in a year.
Some universities have taken a proactive approach to lower textbook costs. UMass has pioneered a program offering grants to some professors in order for them to use freely available sources of information for their classrooms. The $10,000 spent on grants will save students an estimated $72,000 over the course of the 2011-2012 academic school year.
The situation gets worse when the existing textbooks are deemed outdated. Students are forced to purchase revised textbooks at a higher price, adding to their financial burden. There are specific textbooks in some subjects that cost beyond $500 each. For most students and parents, this type of textbook is way out of reach and students will have to manage with renting textbooks or using the internet as their source of information. Students studying history, law and sciences are more disadvantaged as textbooks in these fields are often more expensive compared to other subjects such as liberal arts.
There are many reasons why textbooks are highly priced. One of the main ones is the fact that publishers have combined learning materials that will serve many students in different categories of learning and their teachers. The problem is that some of the content in these books is irrelevant to students in different classes. To start with, the student’s and the teacher’s materials could be published separately to reduce the cost for students who only require the learning materials. The textbooks could contain less “helping” materials which come in form of CDs and DVDs. The inclusion of such materials is a major reason why the prices of textbooks prices have skyrocketed over the past few years. These materials cannot be resold and reduce the chance for students to recover the money they spent to purchase the books.