With fall semester well underway, it seems textbooks have become increasingly expensive and students are growing more concerned about affording higher education. Could it be that textbook industries are taking advantage of students as they make a rocky transition to e-books?
“I personally feel like textbooks are overpriced,” said an anonymous UVU Bookstore cashier. “I understand that they should be a little expensive because so much work goes into them, and sometimes they are the building block of your education. I don’t see why it is as expensive as it is though.”
Students were interviewed about the rising costs of textbooks. One student said he remembered paying $65 for his math book his freshman year. This semester, when the same student took a different math class, he found that the textbook with the MyMathLab access code went for about $125. The book alone cost approximately $95 elsewhere.
Behavioral science major Jade Pack, 21, said she noticed the difference between textbook prices since she first attended UVU back in 2010.
“It’s clear that textbooks have become expensive since then, but it could be because of other causes, such as our economy, government needs or the way we don’t take care of ourselves and the environment very well that is causing textbook prices to go up.”
Some professors are suggesting other sources to find cheaper or used books, like Amazon.com. The problem with this approach is that most classes typically prefer to use the latest version of the textbook, making it difficult to buy the books online at a cheaper price.
More and more classes appear to be transitioning to e-books as part of their course material. E-book programs, such as MyMathLab, provide additional resources that students can use, and professors say that buying e-books is cheaper than buying the real textbook.
Monica Ferreyra, a math adviser and teacher, said, “I agree with e-books, and I use them in my class. I like them because they have everything a textbook has but also have an interactive learning component.”
While half of the students interviewed admitted they have not used e-books before, the other half chose e-books. The reasons why students agreed on e-books were that e-books make thick, cumbersome textbooks obsolete, lightening the weight in their backpacks. E-books are also cheaper and can be accessed from any computer. Textbooks run the risk of being lost or worn, and students may be required to replace them.
Maleena Barnes, 27, a deaf studies major, said, “It depends on which book I prefer. If it were really expensive, like for math class, I would buy the e-book. If it were not so pricey, I would like to have the real textbook.”
Another student said it would be difficult to study and do homework if he suddenly lost his Internet connection at home, and he wondered what he would do if his iPad broke down.
The Bookstore cashier said e-books are a good idea, and if given the choice, they would choose to use e-books. However, the cashier said a textbook is easier to carry around than a computer and said that students like highlighting vital information in a textbook for quick referencing and study points.