Textbooks break the bank and our backs


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While the government tries to pay off its debts from when the country began, college students are trying to pay off their debt from their minimum four years of college that can include tuition, housing, bills, food and books.

Oh, books. Who would have guessed that books could cause so much financial stress?

These are not the everyday “Twilight” or “Hunger Games” books either.

These are the 15-pound biology books that you read one paragraph out of and then the professor puts the lecture slide — with that paragraph on it — on D2L, ultimately making your book purchase useless.

In the three years I have been at Shippensburg, tuition itself has not increased more than $100, but every semester my books have fluctuated in price. According to a Jan. 4 Huffington Post article, textbook prices have increased 812 percent since 1978.

All right, so my $120 textbook would have only cost me $14.77? That would be fantastic. The same article broke down where the money goes. Take the $120 textbook for example, $24, or 20 percent, of that goes to the bookstore and then another three-fourths of that goes to the publisher.

Although a large portion of the textbook cost goes to the publisher, the article did not make any mention to access codes, which are becoming increasingly more popular. Access codes are nice because they do not make my backpack weigh 50 pounds, but they end up leaving about 50 cents in my bank account.

To me, an access code is a huge rip-off. I cannot sell it back and I cannot buy it used. But, I suppose the textbook industry must survive somehow. According to the National Association of College Stores, a student spends more than $600 on average for books, each year. So, cut that in half and it is about $300 per semester.

Some people can spend that much on one book, depending on the class, the major and the university.

As a journalism student, my books are not too expensive as most of my classes are skills based and do not always require a book.

However, my friends who are biology majors can spend almost $600 per semester because the books they need are so much more expensive. A part-time job throughout the semester drains my bank account when I have to buy books.

I do not even want to think about what it is like for people who do not work.

The textbook industry is ripping off college students.

They already are paying tuition and housing at the very least and stacking up thousands of dollars in loans. Why add to the stress with books that will break their backs and the bank?


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