Students face high textbook costs

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Registration is over, and now we approach textbook season.

Students budget hundreds of dollars each semester on textbooks for their classes. They now have more options regarding textbook prices and promotions. Online sharing websites changed the game and offer deals on new, used and online books for students.

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average cost of a new textbook was $82 last year, up from $57 in 2007. With the general increase in textbook prices, students search for the best deals to save money.

Emma Edick, senior digital media production major, spends close to $200 each semester on textbooks. Core class textbooks cost more than her major-specific textbooks.

“I think they’re expensive because of the amount of information in them,” she said. “It’s hard to say if it’s worth it. It’s an extra fee tacked onto what you’re paying for the school.”

Edick said she tends to rent or buy used textbooks. She purchases textbooks for her major because she uses them for future classes. The most expensive book she purchased was approximately $100, while the cheapest was around $12.

Students can purchase books directly through Butler University in-store or online. The online program allows students to search directly for their courses and lists new, used and rent prices. Students can pick up their textbooks from the store or have it shipped directly to their home before the semester begins.

Jarrod Koester, a first year history major, said he expected to pay a lot of money for textbooks. He purchased his textbooks from the bookstore this semester, most of them he rented. He spent approximately $200 on a single textbook for a Spanish course, but expects to spend more money on textbooks in the future for his classes.

“They can always be cheaper,” Koester said. “Because they are higher level courses, they will naturally be higher priced. I think it’s reasonable.”

There are several options for students after the semester ends. Students can purchase rented books by paying the additional cost or return the book before the deadline located on the original receipt. The bookstore will purchase books back from students directly. Students can receive cash upfront for their used textbooks.

Megan Watson, sophomore and elementary education major, bought mostly novels and textbooks for her major. As a first year, a couple of her textbooks were more expensive.

“It is always kind of a big shock because you’ve never really had to spend money on textbooks before college,” she said. “I was prepared to see that amount, but it still is a surprising amount.”

Watson and Edick recommend to wait until after the first week of class to purchase textbooks. Professors may not use the textbook or use a different book altogether. Students can prevent paying additional costs for books they may not use.

“Do your research a little bit,” Watson said. “In other instances, you may be able to get a book on Amazon. Figure out what’s the best option for you.”

There are other options, such as Chegg, that offer less-expensive prices for the same textbooks. These services sell new, used and online versions of the text.

Students can receive instant price quotes for their textbook through Chegg, an online textbook rental company, by entering the book’s barcode online. Chegg provides a free shipping label, so the student only brings the box to a United Parcel Service location. Chegg sends the money in the mail after they receive the textbook.
Before purchasing textbooks, students should wait until they see their syllabus, Edick said. Some courses depend on the textbook, while others merely use it for reference.

“Not every professor uses it the same way,” she said.

Students can also price match their textbooks at the bookstore each semester. By presenting the promotion or advertisement of a cheaper book at the time of purchase, students can receive the book for the lower price.

The bookstore is open throughout the school year and is open to speaking with students about textbook prices, promotions and policies for next semester.