The Wall Street Journal ran an article on Thursday about recent efforts taken to cut the cost of academic textbooks. According to the article, textbook prices have been rising at twice the rate of inflation in recent years (we think it might even be higher!). Efforts have been made to charge more using ’bundling techniques’ where students are forced to purchase CDs or study guides along with the actual textbook. Also, publishers have increased the frequency of their updates (think 11th edition) to an annual basis, rather than every few years.
People are noticing. Last week, a congressional advisory committee held a public hearing to discuss a study that will offer recommendations on what the federal government, states or individual institutions can do to alleviate textbook price hikes.
According to WSJ, the average cost of books and supplies for a full-time in-state freshman at a four-year public college is $898, or roughly one-fourth of tuition and fees, the GAO said. Books in the more-technical subjects such as science, economics and accounting can cost well over $100 eachâ€œ an IntelliGrad writer in graduate school just paid $147.
However, not mentioned in the WSJ article is that one of the reasons for the hikes is undoubtedly increased sales from ’International Editions.’ If you are a current student and don’t know what we’re talking about YOU NEED to get on IntelliGrad.com and find our article on this subject. International Edition textbooks frequently cost 50% less and include the exact same materialâ€œ page numbers normally match up and the any software is still included. The differences are usually minimal: they might have a soft cover rather than a hard cover, or black-and-white content, rather than color content. Big dealâ€œ the book even weighs less!
If you agree that textbook costs are OOC (’out of control’) you can take action. The Make Textbooks Affordable Campaign was created in 2003 by a coalition of student government associations and the Student Public Interest Research Group. Visit their website to learn more and click on the tab ’Take Action.’