The price of schoolbooks and the cost to reading.

Why are schoolbooks and college texts so expensive?

Cyndi Allison explains it here, and I am trying not to be stubborn, but I’m sorry: I just don’t buy it. Can someone enlighten me?

She says that “The average cost of a college textbook is $61.66 according to the National Textbook Data Project 1999.” Well hello, this is six years later ”“ $61.66 is absolutely outrageous: what in the world is it now?

The just-get-used-to-it attitude of this author is jarring, and he even suggests, “Is it any wonder that textbook prices are so high? The wonder is that they aren’t higher.” Is he crazy?

He, Henry L. Roediger III, blames the fact that selling used books has gotten to be too lucrative, however that’s not the case here in Hawaii if my daughter’s last three years at the University are somewhat par for the course, for there are not enough used books here to go around. She’d buy the used ones if she could find them; instead, we’ve forked out a good $500-$600 for books each semester.

Even if he’s right, maybe the used book market wouldn’t have gotten such a stronghold if they weren’t perceived as such a deal ”“ why would you pay for an already marked up, sadly abused book if a new one wasn’t that much more expensive? I wouldn’t.

What’s going on? I’m concerned as a parent paying these prices (college kids in part-time entry level jobs can’t afford to). As a businesswoman, I suspect the system is broken somewhere, and no one is paying enough attention. As a coach, who loves to evangelize about the power of reading, I’m concerned that our kids struggle to pay for what they have to read, and then there’s no money left to spend on what they want to read.

Do teachers and college professors have to support this racket by assigning such ludicrously expensive texts? How does this all work?

If you have some knowledge about this, I’d appreciate hearing from you.

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  1. L. Smith says

    Our schools and their administrators and teachers are being held hostage by the massive publishing industry. Why are we still using paper-based learning materials such as books? The answer is because the school systems are locked into exclusive contracts with the publishers and they make good money from paper-based materials. The tragedy is that it is our children who suffer here. We must not neglect them! And we must try to better address their needs and strive diligently to stimulate their desire to learn and their inherent innovative nature. The recently released commission report, “Education in America — What’s to Be Done?” developed by Trigon-International provides a truly insightful analysis and puts forward a feasible and actionable solution to this growing national blight of not being able to properly educate our children.