Cost of Textbooks

by Matthew Pellicer on September 18, 2013 - 11:48am

This article explains how students are choosing to download their textbooks either for free or at a reduced price to the printed version.

As a student, I think the price of textbooks is too high and that something should be done. I understand the statement made by Michael Harrison, the vice-president of University of Toronto Press Publishing that states that the price of textbooks is supported by how the material needs to be presented in a specific and logical way but at the same time, when I bought my books for my first semester I felt like I was being scammed. It’s the idea of a company having a monopoly on a certain market. The client only has one option on what they can purchase so the seller can charge any price they want. As students, we are obliged by our teachers to purchase these books in specific editions which makes these books be able to carry any price tag because the student will have to buy it either way. I think that if you can get your book at a reduced price, why not? Even if it will cause the publishing companies to be less happy, at least your wallet will be happier.

I feel like the publishing companies are taking advantage of the situation and that prices could actually be dropped without the companies losing too much profit.


The worse thing about it is that the teachers expect you to get the latest books witch are obviously more expensive. but schools are the main way for publishing comp. to make money. were they're best customer and our teachers are the salesmen. we have no choice to buy the books. 200$ books and 300$ books just to be used for 2 projects when in fact half the information is already on the internet. so maybe we cant stop the publishing comp. but the teachers are the ones who expect to get the students to buy the books. some teachers have there own in class books worth 10$ witch is perfect but for math or health studying students. hopefully the part time job you have is paying it off.

I completely agree with you! The prices of books are very high, and since there is no other option of book to choose, students are forced to buy them at the high prices. This can become more problematic if the student cannot afford the books for their program. As a Health Science student, I am very lucky to have bought my books second hand, because the price for all my books combined was ranged around 500-600$... for only the first semester! What if a student cannot afford these books? Well then they are forced to get a job, which is not recommended for this program, or drop a class, which is not recommended either. This is why competition between companies are important, because is decreases the prices, however if the teacher chooses the “best” book at the highest price, it still does not help the problem. In addition, as a student you buy a textbook that can cost 100$, but only be useful a couple of times, which ends up to a waste of money if you cannot resell it.
Here is more information on how companies decide when and how to put a price on a product:

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