Dealing with college textbook costs

Monday, August 22nd 2005, 12:22 pm
By: News On 6

Many college students are heading back to class and that means a trip to the college bookstore. A government report shows textbook prices have gone up 186 percent since 1986.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day says this time of year; one of the busiest places on campus is the college bookstore. “This is going to be bad." Billea Rippe is on the hunt for two textbooks. The petroleum engineering major is looking for used books. "If you just look at the difference in used and new books, the price. The difference is astronomical."

Rippe also plans to borrow some books from fellow students. A report by the Government Accountability Office shows over the past 20 years, textbook costs have risen about 6 percent per year. It can add up to hundreds of dollars. The bookstores say there is no doubt about it, textbooks can get expensive. But they say there is very little margin on the sale of each individual textbook and the stores are really at the mercy of the book publishers.

TU bookstore manager Charles Cavenah: "Just the cost of the paper. Ok. You have author rights, publishing costs and shipping costs. Shipping costs are 7 percent right there. Textbooks are heavy."

Like other students, Biology major Lori Hastings would like to save on book costs, but she takes it all in stride. "They are very expensive, but I think the education you get from them is priceless.” As for Billea Rippe, she agrees. "Here's today's purchase. 150 bucks." Though the cost is high now, she says the investment is worth it.

The Association of American Publishers responded to the government textbook report by saying students learn more from improved textbooks.

You may be able to save money on textbooks by buying them on-line, but you'll have to pay shipping. Many students like the convenience of having a college bookstore.