Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.
“My textbooks were so affordable!” — Said no one ever.
With a new semester comes another round of textbooks. Whether you’re paying $780 per credit hour at UMHB or $4,538 at Harvard, college is an investment. After attaining thousands of dollars for school loans and contributing all of the money made from summer jobs, many students enter each new semester with a feeling of financial uncertainty, worry and stress. The last thing they need is to fork out is the rest of their life savings for over-priced and sometimes unnecessary textbooks.
Students everywhere are feeling the pain of a broken textbook market. According to an article from U.S. News & World Reports, the price of textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade. We all know how expensive the books are, but how are they getting away with continually increasing the prices? The answer lies in a simple economic equation.
This problem stems from a lack of competition. Due to mergers and buyouts, there are basically three publishing companies in control of the majority of the market. Publishers take advantage of this unique market where college students will always need textbooks, encouraging them to make prices artificially high. Often times, professors are unaware of the price of the textbooks that are required for the course. Isn’t that scary?
Consumers (students) have no control over the textbook market. Because there isn’t much competition, publishers can keep costs up by printing new editions every few years.
They even make “custom” editions, preventing students from finding them used. There goes your chance of selling that $272 Business Driven Technology textbook back to the bookstore. Sorry.
Hopefully you chose to rent it for $153 instead.
According to U.S. News & World Reports, 65 percent of students choose to risk a lower grade by avoiding the over-priced textbooks altogether. They are knowingly setting themselves up for an uphill battle to save their hard earned cash. That’s kind of sad if you ask me.
We need to stand up for ourselves and avoid giving in to the money-hungry textbook industry. Do your research and rent or share a textbook. It’s time to show textbook publishers that we will no longer be puppets in their vicious cycle.
I have one last word for you Crusaders.