Saying no to expensive textbooks

Photo by: Will Gentry

 

Over the course of four years, college students can spend thousands of dollars on textbooks but that could be coming to a slow end.

According to an article by David Schick in USA Today, students and faculty are pushing for cheaper textbook prices.

“A growing number of faculty are publishing or adopting free or lower-cost course materials online,” Schnick said in the article. “Students also are getting savvier: 34 percent this spring reported downloading course content from an unauthorized website.”

College students are finding other ways to save money on textbooks. Thirty-one percent of college students admitted they had photocopied or scanned chapters from other students’ books.

“Each semester I spend at least $500 or more on books,” sophomore Brently Williams said. “I am thinking about buying books online because they are cheaper, but I have not done that yet. I am still buying from the OC bookstore.”

For some students, the only option when it comes to textbooks is to buy it from online websites such as Amazon.

“My plan was to order from Amazon this semester, but since I had a lack of time and funds at the moment, instead of spending about $150 online, I spend $470 in the bookstore, charged to my student account,” senior Monica Britt said.

Another option for cheaper textbooks are e-books. With the majority of students having access to the Internet, e-books could be the option that makes students and faculty happier.

“Teachers could also have e-books as an option,” senior Julie Drohan said. “OC seems to be keeping up with technology as much as they can so they might eventually find out a better solution.”

The reason why textbooks are so expensive is because new editions come out every year. Drohan suggested an alternative.

“Some of the teachers give us the option of getting textbooks,” Drohan said. “They could also choose older versions of the textbook or encourage us to get them from anywhere and buy books only if you absolutely have to for the class.”

To help students save money on textbooks, Britt suggested the use of PDFs or copies of the materials needed for the class.

“I think instead of us having to buy books in which we will only read a couple excerpts or chapters, which happens often, the faculty should make PDFs or copies for the class, and ask for them back after they are no longer needed,” Britt said. “This would help students save tremendously.”

Some students are calling on the government to help regulate the prices of books. For them, college is already expensive enough. Adding expensive books on top of their loans only increases the load.

“The government should do something about the cost of textbooks, although I am not sure what they can do,” Williams said.

To help pay for the new semester’s textbooks, students are given the option to sell their books back to Oklahoma Christian University’s bookstore for a fraction of the original price of the books.

“Coming from public school where you don’t have to buy a single book to the college atmosphere where you spend ridiculous amounts on mere books is troublesome, regarding that we only use them for a semester, and get a fraction of what we spent during textbook buybacks and sometimes we can’t sell them back at all,” Britt said. “It’s a vicious cycle.”

Students want the cost of books lowered, and some suggest that change needs to begin with the Oklahoma Christian bookstore, where the prices of books are sometimes doubled.

“I think in reference to our on-campus bookstore, they should stop increasing prices on books,” Britt said. “For instance, a book at Barnes and Noble may be $10, but that same book at the OC bookstore is between $20-$30, which is a large markup,” Britt said.

The Oklahoma Christian bookstore refused to comment on why some students feel that their books are too expensive. Because the bookstore is on campus, it is more convenient to purchase books from there, as opposed to buying books online, where students wait a week or more for the arrival of their books.

“I have been buying books online,” Drohan said. “The bookstore is too expensive. And sometimes I just do without the textbook.”

Williams encouraged the Oklahoma Christian bookstore to reduce the cost of books as much as possible because of the tight budgets.

“They should put into consideration that some students have to go out of their way to actually pay for some of the books,” Williams said. “I have to get loans to buy my books. I am already using loans to go to school because I don’t have the money on hand.”

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