When students receive their acknowledgment letter in the post, the very last thing on their mind is money. But that fast and painfully changes when they are sitting in their first lecture. There are lots of ways schools gouge a student for each penny – just take a quick look at the list of “fees” on any tuition bill – but perhaps none is more obvious than textbooks. It is the culture which has backed students into a corner. For a long period of time, university bookstores were the sole option, but in 2012, scholars have a range of options to economize on textbooks.
Chemistry 101, everyone’s favourite course, needs scholars to buy an incredibly costly textbook. Chemistry goes for $251 at UB’s campus bookstore. That is about fourteen big pizzas at any local pizza place, which could feed one university student for around a month.
Here is where things get engaging : The book is available on Amazon for only $157 new. Not bad, right? Well, if a student goes with a 3rd party seller on Amazon’s market place, the book costs $98. Now that is progress. The most recent trend in the textbook industry, renting is saving scholars wads of money. CampusBookRental.com offers the book for $24 and a student can have it for the whole semester. Wow, that is a $227 savings, sold. But hold on a second. Books are not a solo package any more, many books – like the chemistry bombshell – come with CDs and access codes to online teaching programs. Sold singly, a number of these programs can cost a student as much as $150. Sadly for the chemistry student at UB, the access code and CD don’t come with the rented book, so it could be worthless for a student to attempt to go for the enormous savings by renting. That is just it : Purchasing textbooks has changed into a game and it is a total crapshoot.
Some scholars do not even buy books. It makes better sense for some to ditch the high-priced books altogether and work out a technique to get thru the class without a guide. Some borrow books from folk in their class, while some scholars are bright enough to wing it. Gone forever are the days that mates can find books they want from mates or classmates.
Professors are changing editions nearly every semester it looks, and the scholars are the ones feeling the effects financially.