Coping With High Textbook Prices

By:Carmen Stephens(UTC) –Textbook prices now take a bigger bite out of a student’s educational budget.  

In 2005, the United States Government Accountability Office did research on the increasing cost of textbooks.  What they discovered was that over the past two decades textbooks have increased at twice the rate of inflation but not as much as tuition. At an annual rate of 6 percent, the cost has nearly tripled from December 1986 to December 2004. To see the results of the study, click here.   

Although the prices continue to rise, the students still need books.  According to UTC Adjunct Prof. Michael Andrews, he was surprised by the increase in textbook costs.  He said assumed that a book he needed for his course would be no more than $20.00, but it was instead $70.00. 

When financial aid isn’t enough, students have to come up with the funds out of pocket for books.  UTC Sophomore Marlaina Hayes says she is fed up with the rising textbook prises.  She said, “I spent nearly $600 buck on four books. That is outrageous.”  She said it’s hard being a student who has to pay for gas, food and books.  At times, she feels that she has to choose between getting the books she needs and putting gas in her car.

According to an article by Amy Rolph in the University of Washington press, while textbook sales increased 7 percent overall in the last fiscal year, the number of textbooks sold at college stores have dropped about 30,000 between 2007 and 2008. To read the article, click here

 Students and teachers could be searching for other ways to purchase their books while saving money. Some students buy from and, saving nearly 50 percent of the total purchasing cost.

 Here is the difference between UTC’s Bookstore prices and Half. com


·         Biology 121           $208.90          $100.79

·         BMGT 100             $120.90          $46.50

·         Math 133              $155.55           $59.00 


Students who purchase a book a full price often lose money in the end.  For instance, a student might pay full price for a book in August, but in December based on whether or not there is a new edition of the book he will get maybe 20 percent of the purchase price back if the bookstore are still taking that particular book.

Larry Hurston, UTC freshman, has chosen other options.  He said, “Right now to save money me and some of my friends decided to share a math book so that we could save a little money.” He also said, “since we have different teachers we never have to worry about having tests on the same day, so it has worked for us.” 

Student Support Service students don’t have as many problems when it comes to purchasing textbooks.  Textbook loan is one of SSS’s major programs, allowing students to reserve books for their classes.  SSS tries to purchase the most important books — a gesture that can make a big financial difference.

Another way that students can save money is checking the books out at the library.  Here at UTC, a professor can hold the books on reserve. That means a student can check the book out within the library and study there. The only drawback is you can not leave the library with the book and sometimes they limit how long a person can have the book checked out.

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