What’s behind the soaring cost of college textbooks?

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The cost of new college books can be one of the biggest expenses for college students who are trying to further their education. Aside from the cost of tuition, buying books is one of the largest expenses and typically requires the student to put out a large sum of money at once, when the school year starts. the soaring cost of college textbooks.

What's behind the soaring cost of college textbooks

Studies have shown that the average textbook at a college or university costs around $300 to purchase new from a college bookstore. With one or more books needed for each class, and most students taking four or five classes every semester, this amount can quickly add up to several hundred dollars. Since the textbooks are only used for a few months at a time and some are barely used at all, many students wonder why they are so costly.

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There are several reasons that these books are so much more expensive than any other books on the market and the cost continues to rise. In addition to a limited amount of publishers in the market, creating a lack of competition, there are other factors that make these kinds of books more costly. soaring cost of college textbooks.

Publishers Set High Prices

One of the biggest reasons that college textbooks cost so much is because publishers want to make as much money as possible from college students during the four years they are in school. Most college book publishers continue to release updated and new editions of each book every year.

This forces students in each subject to purchase a brand-new book each year instead of being able to buy used editions from other students. Under this model, publishers have a guaranteed revenue stream each year. Since college students need the books in order to get through the class, publishers know that they have a captive audience that is likely to buy textbooks from them. Prices can be set at any mark the publisher chooses because there is little chance of a competing publisher putting out a textbook on the same subject. the soaring cost of college textbooks.

Another reason that college book costs continue to rise is that professors in most colleges continue to assign updated editions of books each year, which means students must buy them or risk falling behind in the class. Professors are unlikely to switch from one publisher’s textbooks to another, so there is little chance of a lower cost textbook gaining much traction.

While new editions may only contain a little bit of new information, the page numbers or order of chapters may have changed, making it hard to use an older edition to follow along with the class. One cost-saving option for students is to rent a textbook for the semester instead of buying it outright. This can save hundreds of dollars in textbook costs each semester. the soaring cost of college textbooks.

Innovations Make New Editions Necessary

This does not necessarily mean that an updated edition of a book is only issued in order to make money. In many fields, new developments and discoveries can change the way experts view important facts and approach certain procedures. Students in medical, scientific or technology-based fields are likely to need to buy textbooks every year because of the speed with which things continue to change in those areas.

New procedures can quickly become accepted in these areas, requiring publishers to add them to books so students can learn them and stay up to date in the field. This isn’t limited to only a few fields. Changes in world relations and current events can also make it necessary for history and social science majors to get updated books. Countries can change names or leadership which dictates a change in the way their history is taught. Updated textbooks help students get the best information possible. the soaring cost of college textbooks.

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With so few publishers in the market and very little competition, the overall cost of college books is not likely to decrease anytime soon. College students who want to find a way to offset or reduce these costs can look into rental or resale options that end up costing a fraction of the price. This can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings over four years. With a little effort, students may find there are many alternatives to buying outright at full price.

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