High textbook prices mean deep pockets

By Matt Donato
April 6, 2006

Timothy Hague

As it is widely known, textbook prices are a reoccurring burden to any college student. Each semester, students come sulking back to the bookstore to see how far they can dig themselves into debt. If they’re lucky the damage will be under $300; if they’re lucky.

According to the College Board, students spent around $853 on textbooks and miscellaneous supplies during the 2004-2005 academic year. That is an increase of about $200 over the past five years.

“Considering that college entails such a hectic lifestyle, most college students aren’t able to hold down a steady job. With that in mind, it is an ever growing burden to have to buy textbooks each year,” said Jess Haggerty, freshman English and communication major.

But fear not broke college students; many states around the country are working to help carry the load. Many colleges around the country are implementing the textbook rental system. Students at Bellevue Community College in Seattle are going to be some of the first students to save some much needed money. Books, which can cost an average of $150, are going to be about $35 a semester to rent, which is a much needed relief for college students.

Washington Gov. Christine Gregory is also taking action. She signed a bill that requires public four-year universities to inform their professors about book prices so that they can evaluate the situation and try to remedy their methods in order to help students. The bill will also help to promote programs that allow students to sell back their books.

Other states are also taking the initiative. In 2005, New York, Illinois, Texas, Utah and Vermont introduced the college textbook tax credit act to Congress, which would provide an annual tax credit of up to $1,000 on essential textbooks. There are also many pieces of state legislation that tackle the art of bundling text books used by most publishers. Bundling is a phrase used to describe all the supplemental material that is added to the book, which makes the price sky rocket.

“If textbook prices are in any way related to tuition costs, then books are way under priced, but I don’t see the relation, therefore the costs are too high,” said Matt Burge, junior political science and philosophy major. “I’m glad that states and Congress are finally taking the initiative to help us out struggling college folk.”

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

Matt Donato

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