Opinion: Expensive textbooks shouldn’t be required

By Johana Trujillo

Professors should take into consideration price and necessity when selecting college textbooks.

Textbooks, we all need them, but there are those few books that we may not need or that may not be beneficial in the future and therefore shouldn’t be a requirement for a class.

That class that you’re probably taking has zero importance to you and yet it’s still a requirement for you to spend up to $100 or more on a book that you may only need for just a couple of months.

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average student spends up to $655 or more each year on textbooks alone, depending on the amount of classes they are taking.

For some students, buying new textbooks every semester can become a burden because not only do they have to worry about paying for books, but paying for their classes and other school expenses if they aren’t receiving any financial aid help.  

Not only can this be a financial burden, but some students are risking the chance of getting a lower grade by not purchasing the textbook itself.

So why must college textbooks be so expensive?

One reason, according to Business Insider, is that almost 80 percent of the textbook industry is dominated by five major publishers and they’re doing everything in their power to make sure students buy their books.

Couple that with the fact that the average cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past ten years according to CBS News.

Courses such as general education classes that you take your first few years of college usually require textbooks that tend to be more pricier.

For example, some math courses at LBCC, like some statistics or algebra courses, requires that you spend up to $130 on an access code in order for you to do your homework.

Often times those access codes are rendered invalid after the end of the semester, which takes away a student’s ability to access that information if they ever need it again.

Instead, professors should only require a textbook for the class if it is completely necessary and will assure that it will be used throughout the course of the semester.

Of course, there are many other alternatives other than just purchasing the expensive book itself, such as finding a PDF of the book, renting the book, or buying a used one at the Viking Bookstore on campus, which can be way cheaper than the actual cost of the book itself.

But still, not all textbooks are easy to find in PDF format or for a low cost and not all textbooks are available for rental purposes because the book required for the class may have to be the newest edition.

When it comes down to it, professors should choose wisely what books should be required for the class and be sure it’s even necessary for the course.