Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks

The great thing about technology, and how much it has developed over the years, is the wealth of information now available to us. You can go online and find countless information on pretty much any topic or subject matter these days, and that’s invaluable. So, why is it that college students are still spending crazy amounts of money on college textbooks?

With all the classes we have these days, and the reading material that is demanded and recommended by professors, you’d be right in thinking that reading lists are pretty long nowadays. Stories of students buying an armful of texts and parting with north of $400 are not uncommon. But why are we in a position where students still have to shell out for textbooks?

Lack of options

Well, a lot of students find themselves in a situation where they have to get certain texts for specific classes. Many of these are essential for the learning that will occur throughout the year, and many of them are available only in college bookstores. Because of this, it means the college can charge more, knowing that students have to pay the prices. It’s sometimes unconscionable, yes, but it’s also simple economics, and unfortunately happens more than you’d think.

Access codes

College has changed a lot in the last few years, and, in addition to textbooks, many classes also require students to purchase access codes. This is a consequence of the way in which technology has adapted and evolved in the world of education. Many students will need to purchase access codes to gain access to digital portals and information, and these codes can often set people back $100. Much of the information expires after the semester, meaning that students are unable to sell them on again, as they might be able to with books.


The simple fact of it is that there are certain courses and classes that require texts because those textbooks are so exclusive. Often professors will collaborate and write textbooks to preserve their specialized knowledge. And students will be required to buy these texts, which can be quite expensive. Often, the proceeds will be donated back to the university, thus helping to keep things running – not that this helps put money back in your pocket!

Text and digital

Another thing we are seeing these days is that a lot of textbooks are collaborative, and work alongside digital platforms. So students will need to purchase the book and the code in order to be sure they can study effectively, and complete online assignments. The idea behind combining texts with a digital portal to enhance learning helps give students faster access to information while freeing up time for professors to have face-to-face meetings and reduce workload. Unfortunately, this means having to pay more for textbooks as a result.

So, you can see that the development of the digital landscape within a framework of learning has increased the price of textbooks. This is an unfortunate side effect for students, who have to watch the pennies when they’re in college. If you want to make some savings, it’s important to look into the possibility of buying pre-owned texts from other students.