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New York Times Asks Congress to Make College Textbooks Affordable

Pressure on Congress to Make College Textbooks Affordable

College textbooks are so expensive that many students can't afford them and are left to fight over the handful of copies kept in the library's reserve. Those books usually can't be checked out for more than a couple hours at a time, and there's never a guarantee that a book you need will be there when you need it — especially when there's a midterm or final on the horizon and everyone wants to get their hands on it.

There's pressure on Congress to pass a measure that would make college textbooks more affordable and help the mounting costs of higher education. According to the New York Times, a bill that's in the works would help students decide if a book is worth its cost and would tackle the overall problem by addressing the following issues.

  • Publishers would be required tell faculty how much their choices for textbooks will really cost the students, so they can make more reasonable selections with more knowledge about prices.
  • The bill would require publishers to “unbundle” textbooks so that the extra CDs and manuals wouldn't automatically come with the purchase of books. These extras are often unnecessary and go untouched, making them a waste of money.
  • Schools would be required to provide a list of required and recommended books enough in advance for students to find the best deals online or in used bookstores.
Join The Conversation
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
I went to private college most of the books were hardback that they carried in the school store. I would spend an average of 700$ a semester, it was insane. The worst is that I never really got that money back.
smoochiez smoochiez 9 years
i love all of those ideas! textbooks cost so much and most of the time we end up using the book a couple of times. maybe congress could add something about that too....
allieperez allieperez 9 years
It's about time they realized how expensive textbooks are. In our household there are three college students and that hurts my parents every semester. I used to go to or ebay to find my books really cheap. Let's hope this passes.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
I want textbooks to be available as Ebooks just to cut down on the weight, not to mention the cost. I know the companies would hate it, but I really think if textbook companies don't make changes they will find that they are surpassed by other resources available to teachers, like free online resources.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
Such a good idea. I can never afford books and it really doesn't make it easy. A few semesters I've gone without books and that is really not easy to do.
Berlin Berlin 9 years
It's so bad depending on the professor you have too! Or the subject:) Certain professors actually won't let you get the older edition and will make sure that they include information in lectures or on exams that is in the newest edition. Or they will issue work by page numbers only so that if yours doesn't match, you're SOL. Other times, the subject matter gets updated so regularly that by the time you purchase the book, then there's already a new edition out! Then you can't even sell it b/c it's no longer being used even for the next semester. I remember 2 semesters cost me over $500 in books!
Nickey Nickey 9 years
I concur with all of you! I do try to buy my books in advance. With Barnes and Noble as the school's bookstore, they get just ridic with the prices. It's a shame and they wonder why the economy isn't doing well. When you have to pay a million dollars for college and rack that all up into debt, it's amazing that we have any money left to spend after paying those student loan bills after graduation. They need to have a bill to address the cost of education as well. We need to be like the education systems in Europe that have free education.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
This is a great idea. My fiance's a student, and has to spend a fortune on books all the time.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
This is an idea that's very much needed. I hated buying books, only to be unable to sell them back the next quarter b/c the newer "improved" edition was being used in the class. Usually those editions only have like 3 or 4 insignificant minor changes, and a different "prettier" cover.
baybug baybug 9 years
This is a really good idea. Books are so expensive and it would be nice to have a break when you are trying to put yourself through college.
raieven raieven 9 years
Great idea! As a humanities major, and a senior, I'm luck in that most of the books I need are novels, and available from the public library.
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
Ugh, when I was in college I spent at least $600 a semester on books. Plus, some classes require their own special editions so buying on from or doesn't really work. I hated it.
eightieslingo eightieslingo 9 years
I pay at least $500 each freakin semester for books. And a bunch of those are used! I try to buy my books on Amazon but they can still be pricey. Also, never sell your books back to the college bookstore, sell them on Amazon to get the most money.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
Is there a reason why they charge so much for textbooks? Some of my engineering books were published in the 80's but still cost $200 per book. The used versions were very hard to find since most people keep them to use for their PE (Professional Engineer) exam.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
Old editions on are the way to go. I've saved hundreds that way!
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I always bought the last year's edition used for about $50 cheaper than the new one. When we came to the one chapter that was different, I just copied it from a friend in class. Also, most schools do not allow teachers to require their own textbooks in their classes.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
Yea I live in Canada and they are crazy expensive as well. A course is usually $400 and your textbooks can range from $80-$200. It sucks :(
ikimashokie ikimashokie 9 years
I remember for one class (or set of classes), there was a book bundle that cost 97 or so dollars. I tried to get it separate and used. One book was 35 dollars used. The other had just been printed, and cost 80 dollars. Or some crazy combo like that. The teeny tiny book (really, it was about the size of a thick children's book), cost almost as much as the shrink-wrapped bundle. We used that set of books once or twice, I don't even know if they're still using it.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I also used to just buy my books online and share with a friend until they came in. I had a few teachers give me crap about it because I didn't have my book yet. I would ask them if they wouldn't mind paying for my book then if they were so cheap. I made a few enemies.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
Its such a scam how the professors who write the books release a new edition each year too. It isn't just the publishers. That was the thing that drove me nuts the most. They would change a sentence between editions.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
This is such a good idea. I spend about $550 on books alone! I'm lucky that I have scholarships and my parents helping me out but the prices of my books are ridiculous! Then at the end of the semester when I sell my books back to my school they will only end up giving me like $25 for a $85 book. "Schools would be required to provide a list of required and recommended books enough in advance for students to find the best deals online or in used bookstores." This is the BEST idea. They NEVER tell us ahead of time what books we need and sometimes the professor doesn't even use the book so I just paid like $150 for a book I'll never use. :RANT:
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