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Textbook Prices Skyrocket

By: Amanda Humes
By: Amanda Humes

Another semester of college is about to begin and the first challenge for some students may be paying for their textbooks. A new study finds that the price of books is sky rocketing.

Blinn freshman Matt Guzman was excited about starting his college experience, but that excitement soon faded when he found out how much his textbooks would cost.

" I was very shocked and I was also shocked about how many books I had to buy for each class. If you add up 2, 3 books for each class, it gets pretty expensive," said Guzman.

According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, textbook prices have increased 1-hundred 86 percent since 1987. That's about a 6% increase per year.

The study also estimates that the average student attending a 4 year college will spend nearly $900 a year on textbooks. So who's responsible for pricing? Publishers set the price for each book they sell to bookstores.

" We use the industry standard mark-up. The publisher gives the list price and all of the bookstores use that price here in town," said Philip Beard with University Bookstore.

Beard has been in the book business for 30 years and says textbooks only account for a small percent of his store's profits.
Beard predicts his profits may be even lower this year because delivery costs have increased with soaring gas prices.

Publishers attribute some of the added costs to technology. Supplements such as C-D roms and other instructional materials have been added to new textbooks inflating total cost.

" If the student doesn't need those items then they can save 25% by buying a used textbook," said Beard.

Some students say they're frustrated about shelling out tons of money for their books, but know they'll need them for class.

" Well I'm not looking forward to it, but I suppose I have to pay for it," said Beard.

The study concludes that textbook prices will continue to rise, but hopefully not as much as other higher education costs.

There is a bit of good news for students. Some bookstores in towns are offering discounts and incentives to frequent book buyers.


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