Why Do College Books Cost So Much?
There’s nothing like a real college experience.
The life of a student for four years consists of parties in dorms, sleeping in class, and overpriced books that make you question everything around you. It’s a question students ask themselves every semester when they’re buying their books. Why do college books cost so much?
The College Board recently estimated that the average student spends $1,200 per year on college textbooks. That’s nearly $5,000 throughout your entire education. It’s a ridiculous number, considering almost all of your books have no value outside of their respective class.
The cost of textbooks started getting expensive after the 1970s. That’s when new editions of books were printed and distributed every year. The American Enterprise Institute notes that there has been an 812% rise in the cost of course materials since 1978. That’s more than health care and home prices! The only thing worse than spending $300 on a book is the bookstore offering you $5 when you want to sell your book back to them.
So, can we answer this question once and for all? Why do college books cost so much?
There are a lot of different factors to the rise of cost with textbooks. This breakdown helps you understand where your money goes for an average $100 book.
- $11.60 for author royalties
- $17.90 for bookstore costs
- $4.50 for bookstore profit
- $32.40 for printing costs
- $10.00 for publisher costs
- $7.00 for publisher profit
- $15.40 for marketing costs
- $1.20 for shipping costs
Bill and Melinda Gates understand the importance of keeping these costs low. They funded OpenStax College, which provides free textbooks for college students. The fact is most students can’t afford these costs. They may even end up skipping out on a few books because of the costs, which will undoubtedly effect their performance in their classes.
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The College Board: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/quick-guide-college-costs
American Enterprise Institute: http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/12/the-college-textbook-bubble-and-how-the-open-educational-resources-movement-is-going-up-against-the-textbook-cartel/
The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/01/why-are-college-textbooks-so-absurdly-expensive/266801/
Textbook Spyder: http://www.textbookspyder.com/faq-why-are-textbooks-so-expensive.php
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