Why Are Textbooks So Expensive?

It happens every year -college textbook prices are so high that freshmen go into shock at the thought of paying $100 or more for a book. There are several reasons given for the high price of textbooks: some that the vendors will disclose and others they don't. First off, texts are expensive to produce, compared to everyday novels.
There’s certainly some validity to this explanation. Yes, those charts and diagrams are expensive to produce, and the relatively small print runs of textbooks keep publishers from enjoying the kind of economies of scale they get on a bestselling popular novel. Any economist who has a pulse (and probably some who don’t) could poke holes in this argument pretty quickly, though.

In the simplest economic terms, the high price of textbooks is symptomatic of misaligned incentives, not exorbitant production costs. Students hold the reasonable stance that they’d like to spend as little money as possible on their books. Students don’t really have the latitude to pick which texts they need, though.

Read the real story behind sky-high textbook prices at mental_floss. Link

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Fight back. Avoid the campus bookstore. Go online if you want cheaper textbooks. As long as some people are still paying retail prices the publishers are not going to be compelled to end their monopoly on student's wallets. Go online and search for used books, international editions, older editions, rentals, and even e-books to combat the high prices. The only problem with this solution is that there are so many places online promising cheaper books. That's why I use http://www.bigwords.com They are a textbook price comparison search engine that searches all the online retailers and rental site to find you the best prices, no matter which format you are seeking.
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You can often find the same textbook in an "international edition" or being sold on an eBay affiliate in Europe for a lot less.

Textbooks in the US are so expensive because we have such an insane financial aid program. Countries without massive giveaways to students (the UK, France, Sweden, etc.) have much cheaper books (and tuition as well.)
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Jay, I don't think anyone said the cost of textbooks was the difference between going to college and not going to college. It's just what this particular article focused on.
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You probably don't need the book in class. With well coordinated study groups, you can share the book costs among group members, and use it in the group. Can't noodle that out? Get used to paying full price, dweeb. Effective teams always trump individual performance - over time.
But I have to read this...sure, and later your boss will want you to read his every memo. Will you, dweeb? Three-point-oh-and-go! Life's too short.
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It seems odd that we focus on the cost of textbooks as the financial killer to attending college. The clear fact is that the cost of higher education is the ultimate killer. No one ever addresses the amount of subsidies to universities that disguise themselves as loans and grants. The cost of education continues to rise and the government subsidies rise right along with the costs. How many state colleges or university campuses have you been on that have not been building or constructing something?
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