College Textbooks Are Much Too Costly

At least once in a college student's career, a professor will inconsiderately assign a textbook-overlooking cost-and only use or make reference to it once, maybe twice, during the semester. Unfortunately, this has happened or will happen to all of us at some point. Students might complain or become frustrated with the professor, but the real underlying issue is that college textbooks are so expensive, and in many cases, unreasonably priced.

With all the varying financial situations among students on college campuses, one thing remains certain: Full-time college students often find themselves in a money-crunch when purchasing required books for class.

Jordan Weissmann, an associate editor of The Atlantic, reported an 812 percent rise in the cost of course materials since 1978, as discovered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The price of all those Intro to Sociology and Calculus books have shot up faster than health-care, home prices and, of course, inflation," Weissmann stated.

College tuition and dorm fees are heavy financial burdens on students, and while the majority of students will take out loans and receive grants to help pay for their education, the rising rates for textbooks are perverse. In reality, purchasing textbooks from the campus bookstore is a huge rip-off. Even freshmen students who are new to purchasing college materials know this.

"I buy my textbooks from or other online distributors," freshman Diana Aguliar said. "The rates at the bookstore are ridiculous. Even renting a book is expensive."

Some professors even go as far as to require students to buy a customized textbook for the class that, of course, is only offered at the school bookstore. This leaves no alternative for students who are on a budget for purchasing their materials and wish to use other book distributors. Students might even take out an extra loan just to make financial matters bearable enough to afford their books. 

While all college students are undeniably affected by the excessive costs of textbooks, the students at the biggest disadvantage are those from low-income households. Is it morally right for campus bookstores to charge already financially unstable students a small fortune for textbooks?

The average full-time college student has to worry about tuition, housing and meal plans; why should textbooks-a college necessity-be an additional load to stress over? Students should abstain from purchasing their textbooks from campus bookstores in an attempt to boycott the unfair prices. Only then will campus bookstores reconsider their irrational rates and make textbooks more affordable for students of all incomes.