Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?

February 20, 2015 0 Comments

Aside from the fact that tuition cost seems to increase endlessly? However, it doesn’t make sense why there is a correlation between college tuition cost and the college textbooks students use. They’re heavy, bulky (too fat in the age of digital books), and they’re out of date as soon as you print them, which means you can’t even sell them by the time the semester is over. Even if by some miracle the books are not out of date by the end of the semester, they’re not worth half as much as their initial price.

So, why exactly are college textbooks rising faster than inflation if they become so worthless in such a short period?

It makes sense that recreational books have barely budged within the last 20 years. Paperback books are printed in lower margins than hardcover books. Despite all of that, it usually sells as greater numbers. As hardcover book sales slowed, which are more expensive, books were predominately printed in paperback. With the inventions of e-readers such as The Nook, Kindle and Tablets, this helped mitigate the increase in book prices.

This explains why book prices have slowed. It doesn’t explain, on the other hand, why textbooks have skyrocketed. With student loan debt topping $1.2 Trillion dollars and the delinquency rate surpassing 11%, this is further evidence that the nation is currently experiencing a student loan bubble. Perhaps the bubble is already starting to burst, or rather, deflate very slowly.

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