Managing The Cost Of Textbooks


By Jennifer White

Many students here on campus feel that the costs of textbooks are getting too pricey; especially in such hard economic times. Some students say it is because many of the professors are publishing their own books. These professor’s with books that are published start demanding that the students buy their textbooks in order to keep up in class, which means students are forced to buy them. Others claim it is the bookstore trying to make a bigger profit. No matter the reasons why, outrageous book prices are becoming a large problem.

“It’s is odd for me to have to pay for text books. I mean I just graduated from high school where they supplied the books for us. I think if the college some how did that it would make all of our lives a lot easier. It would save us hundreds of dollars each semester”. Said Alex Leon; a new student on campus. Many students like Alex, are distressed at the amount of extra money being spent. “Sometimes, it’s hard to get the money. I mean I work and pay for my own education, so an extra couple of hundred a semester is hard to come by. Those extra hundreds on top of tuition is a lot. It means I have to work longer hours and still find time for my school work. It is not easy at all, and I am sure I am not the only one.” Alyssa Antola said about the cost of textbooks.

What many students get bothered by the most is professor’s that publish textbooks and make profits off the class buying them. The most frustrating part about it for many students is that the books they are demanded to buy; are not cheap, many professors ask top price for the books. “I had one teacher who told the class; not to buy used books. The professor told us not sell the books back either because she wanted us to write in them. To get the most out of the class, she told us we needed to make notes. I personally don’t think she cared about our education. I think she cared more about making a profit off her book.  By selling the books back and buying them used they are significantly cheaper. It is comical how ridiculous and greedy some people can be. Make us work extra hours so they can make a few more bucks. Then complain when the work is not turned in on time”.  Said; Tara Menten, a 3rd year student at the college. Not everyone here on campus feels the same way; about teacher’s publishing their own books. Professor Christopher J. Kosciuk SCCC Department of Philosophy said; “The only circumstance in which doing so would be wrong, by my reckoning, is if the sole or even primary, intention of the teacher in question were the generation of additional income for herself and not the enhancement of her course. If you know teachers who assign their books primarily for this reason, then there may be in such cases genuine ethical wrong doing. I myself know of none”.

Many students spend all semester not writing in their books; they try to not scuff them or rip them. They try to keep them in perfect condition, because they want and need that money back. The problem here is that even an excellent conditioned book most likely is only sold back for 25% or less of the amount you paid for them. In some cases they won’t even take the books back; claiming they are an old edition. This leaves students stuck with the cost and a book they no longer need! “If you ask me it’s all a scam, I mean they nickel and dime us and make everything harder. When we go to sell our books back, it turns into a lose, lose situation”. Said, Tara Menten, 

High textbook prices occur for a wide range of reasons and everyone has a personal opinion on it. If it’s not the professor it’s the bookstore, or maybe both. There are resources to work around this high costing problem; but how good are these problem solvers. That is if they are problem solvers at all! Many students say going online to buy books it a lot cheaper. Websites like or are known for buying cheaper books. Many of these websites are a very good tool; some students have said they got their textbooks for less then half the price. “Its’ concerning that the bookstore sells books for double the price of many other stores. I would shop around before going to the campus bookstore” said Dan, a new student here on campus.

Where there is a deal there is always a scam! Keep that in mind when shopping for textbooks as well. Many of students have fallen victim to online textbook scams. Which makes many people feel more comfortable buying at their own school’s store? When shopping online make sure the website is valid and check the ratings. is known for textbook buying problems, they are widely complained about. The best way to be safe when buying online is to ask around. Find out from your fellow students what the best site’s are. Many students said and; are very reliable and they sell their books for cheaper prices.

The college isn’t fully slacking on making the textbook matters better. They have come up with a few ideas; such as selling books back and the options of buying used. Even though many students; are not impressed with the college’s efforts. Does not mean they are not coming up with new ideas. The fact that they are trying to make things better should give students the hope for better options for the future. One new idea the college has come up with is textbook rentals. It will cut costs form 40 % to 60% for some books. This idea may be what many students have been waiting for. Only time will tell if it is an ideal process, “I didn’t know they rented books. Well I think the idea of renting books and cost cutting is pretty good. Not ideal but it makes things a little more affordable”, said Alyssa Antola. 

Textbook prices are rising to the point where many students cannot afford to buy the required books. This is causing many students to fail out of classes. It is becoming a major problem here on campus. “We the students need to speak up! We need to talk to people of power here and get our issues known. I mean it can be fixed if we get in contact with the right people. Even more so if we stand together.” said 1st year student Dan.

One response

  1. It is a really good story and has a lot of potential. I like it and the story can be proven to be very informational.

    I just want to point out a few positive criticisms of the story. In the first paragraph, you say how some students think the bookstore is out to make a profit. We are a retail store so we need to make a profit but when it comes to prices of books, it is not up to us to make them. It is the publishers that control how much we are allowed to charge for books. Also keep in mind that labor and electricity etc. has to be paid for just like any other business and along with all of that we pay rent to SCCC so we give a cut of our profits to the school.

    Keep in mind that the bookstore is not run by the college, we are a seperate entity. This is a Follett Higher Education Group (FHFG) run company. We rent the space in the basement of the Babylon Student Center from the school. We have a contract with the school.

    When it comes to the buyback of textbooks, books are worth up to 50% of their retail value. Basically, supply and demand comes into play here and if we have a high volume of whatever book a student or customer is trying to sell back, the value is not going to be that high. If the book is changing editions and if the professor is changing what book he/she may use next semester also plays into how much the book may cost at the time of buyback.

    Keep in mind that when you buy books online from other sources, it is at the risk of the customer who may be buying the book. Buyer beware. You might buy a book that might not be in the condition you were hoping it would be in and/or you may not get or find the whole package the professor may be asking for or requiring.

    On the journalism side of it all, I feel this story is one-sided in a way. It is depicting the bookstore in a negative light. Maybe if you got quotes from professors themselves and employees from the bookstore, it might help out with the balance of the story. Professors have no say in how much their books are going to cost. Again it is all up to the publishers when it comes to bookstore costs.

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