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Factors Responsible for the Exaggerated Prices of New College Textbooks

For college students all across the country who are required to pay expensive college tuitions and various other taxes in order to continue their education, the continuously rising prices of curriculum-required college textbooks is yet another reason of concern. Forced to spend up to 0 on a single new textbook, college students with scarce financial resources make great efforts just to keep pace with today’s demanding educational system.

In an attempt to determine a reduction in the average costs of topical college textbooks, many student and faculty chairmen groups have appealed to Congress representatives for help, but only obtained explanations and promises that their problems will be taken care of in the near future. Without proper understanding and support, thousands of college students are turning to the Internet for help, substituting new college textbooks with online study materials, while others are considering buying used (and often outdated) textbooks. Lots of students nowadays purchase used college textbooks through campus websites such as DogEars and Books on Campus. Others obtain their study materials through used-college textbook exchange programs initiated and promoted by various faculties, while some college students even order their study materials from overseas websites that establish substantially lower prices for new textbooks.

Although they haven’t been able to come up with decent solutions to the new college textbook crisis, Congress officials have clarified the factors that have amplified and sustained the phenomenon in the last few years. Although faculty chairmen nationwide claim that textbook publishers hold the blame for the high costs of college textbooks, and publishers argue that faculty members demand new, expensive versions of college study materials, Congress representatives have revealed that the truth is somewhere in-between.

The higher-education publishing industry claims that it needs to maintain publications updated and reviewed in order to satisfy the requirements imposed by most faculties and also claims that new college textbook prices are competitive in each market. Editors inform that college textbooks must be regularly modernized to raise the interest of today’s college students and teachers who are used to the interactivity and graphics offered by the Internet.

Textbook publishers claim that all new editions focus on including the latest teaching techniques and information, regardless of subject; even disciplines that were considered to be more stable, such as geography and history nowadays suffer major - often unneeded – modifications. Textbook editors have stated that if teachers would consider restricting the amount of unnecessary information introduced in newer editions, the costs of study materials would be substantially diminished. On the other hand, professors have asked publishers to come up with a solution to release economic editions that still include the latest information but in a cheaper format.

A major reason why college textbooks have become unaffordable to students is that most editions include content both for teaching and learning, today’s materials being used by teachers and students altogether. If the teaching content would be published and sold separately, students would be able to purchase their books at lower prices, buying strictly the content and learning tools that they need. Thus, a possible solution to the problem would require the implication of both textbook publishers and professors: college textbook publishers should release economical editions for students (lower-quality but more affordable new textbooks), while teachers should separate the teaching content from the learning content and reduce the frequency of unnecessary updates and reviews.

About the Author: So if you want to find out more about textbooks and especially about college textbooks, follow these links, you will also find information for the Dutch versions - studieboeken.

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