SACRAMENTO - The cost of college textbooks is putting a lot of students in a difficult spot, because there are plenty who cannot afford to purchase every textbook they need, and trying to complete a course without the necessary materials is very difficult.
Collegeboard.org found that the average student at a four-year public college spends $1,200 on books and supplies, or nearly $1,250 if they go to a private school. There has been an 812-percent increase in the cost of college textbooks since 1978. That's a jump higher than the percentage growth in the cost of healthcare.
The other thing that can be very frustrating is the new edition textbooks that come out every couple of years, but don't have substantial changes from the previous one. And then when students try to sell that textbook at the end of the semester, they do not get anywhere near the original price.
For example, at a used bookstore, you might get $12 for a book that you paid $100 for.
It's a scenario that's putting a lot of students in a serious bind.
Fortunately, as the cost of textbooks increase, so do the number of options available to students. Three alternatives to buying new textbooks provide a cost-effective means for students to access required information:
Open Textbooks: The idea of open textbooks is a fast-growing movement right now. It's a non-profit group that has created a searchable, online catalog of open textbooks written and peer-reviewed by academic experts. The material can be downloaded or purchased at little to no cost.
E-Books: E-books are another option that can save students money. A $100 textbook might cost $30 in an E-book version.
Book Rentals: Some students are also turning to renting textbooks from the library, but they are not allowed to mark any notes in those books.