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  Category: Articles » Education & Reference » Higher Education » Article
 

How to Overcome the High Prices of College Textbooks




By Groshan Fabiola

Every year students require various college textbooks for their classes, spending a small fortune to purchase them. High standards should be improved in the business deal of purchasing new and used books so that all students would benefit of improved methods of learning. In recent years, college bookstores have begun to lose their monopoly over the market, generating pronounced imbalances regarding the average costs of most study materials.

Thousands of students who will soon head off to college campuses nationwide are beginning to realize that it takes quite a bit of capital these days to buy textbooks. In the past two decades, college textbooks prices have increased considerably, at twice the rate of inflation. According to government estimates, students and their families have spent more than $6 billion on new and used textbooks over the period of the academic year 2003-2004. During 2002 and 2004, the average college student spent up to $900 a year for textbooks, around 3 percent more than in the last seven years. Recent studies have also revealed the fact that the average student nowadays spends about $100 on a single curriculum-oriented new book and about $65 on a similar used book.

Fortunately, there are various high-standard educational institutions that are currently striving to overcome such topical issues regarding the low affordability of curricular study materials. The University of Phoenix for instance, has corrected such problems by modifying the general curriculum and preparing a lighter course load for attending students. By replacing most traditional textbooks with e-books, the University of Phoenix has become the first "textbook-less" college in the country.

Highly skilled students joining selected programs nowadays benefit for Microsoft's e-book reader software. However, in order to obtain unlimited access to interactive materials and up-to-date texts online, students still have to pay a per-course fee. In present, the University of Phoenix has almost 95,500 students at more than 100 locations across the country, currently striving to integrate all students in the e-book-oriented study program.

In order to achieve a better position on the market, the great majority of booksellers have recently started to sell textbooks at a considerable discount off the cover price. Furthermore, special areas have been created in order to improve the selling of textbooks on the Internet. Another great source for college books are the online used bookstores, which help students find the textbooks of their interest at considerably lower prices.

Students must be very careful when closing a deal on the Web. Considering the fact that textbook prices greatly vary on the Internet, students are advised to closely analyze all possible alternatives before choosing a certain bookseller over another. It is important to note that the purchase price should not be the only considered aspect when buying textbooks online; students should also factor in shipping costs and delivery time before deciding upon buying their desired textbooks on the Internet.

In order to fight the high cost of college textbooks you should double-check for the correct 10-digit International Standard Book Number, or ISBN. This number is situated above the bar code on the textbook's back cover or title page. When you are purchasing online you should check for the ISBN along with the book title, author and edition.

If you simply can't afford new textbooks, you should consider purchasing used textbooks, as they are considerably less expensive than their new counterparts. You can purchase a used textbook at about 75 percent of the retail price of a new textbook. Prices vary anywhere from $10 to $80, with an approximate average of $40. Due to the fact that used books are a scarce and limited resource, often being sold out by the beginning of the school year, students may need to shop early in order to obtain their required used books. In spite of this fact, used textbooks are still a reliable, cost-effective alternative to new textbooks, allowing students to spend less money for their education.
 
 
About the Author
So if you want to find out more about textbooks and especially about college textbooks, follow these links, you will also find information for the Dutch versions - studieboeken.

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