Why Do Textbooks Cost So Much?

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Why Do Textbooks Cost So Much? 1

Ever wonder why textbooks tend to be unreasonably expensive even for the average college student? Well, you’re not the only one. This is one of the most current problems we college students face. Various surveys have been taken by American universities to estimate how much college students spend on textbooks, and this ranges from $600 to even $1000 depending on which university you attend (private university or community college). Also taking into consideration the expenses for school supplies and material, this could easily top over $1000. Yes, that’s a pretty scary number. So, why do textbooks cost so much? We did some research and here are a few reasons why:

The Course Curriculum

College is a lot more different from high school and due to the vastness of some course curriculum new subjects are introduced/added each semester. With the introduction of new subjects also comes the requirement to acquire new textbooks. Sadly enough, some of these textbooks are needed just for a short duration of time in order to pass the semester, and after that, they end up occupying space on our shelves. Also considering that professors who assign these new textbooks for the subjects don’t particularly have to pay for anything, they could be inconsiderate about the number of books they require us to get and might not even suggest the cheap ones.


Some textbooks are exceptionally rare and hard to come by. Once it’s known in the market that a particular book is highly needed, the price is bound to rise up even to an imaginable extent. It’s just one of the laws of economics. In some cases, publishers could raise the prices of their textbooks irrespective of the outcome.

preparing a new edition adds to high costs of textbooks
Designed by pikisuperstar / Freepik

Some Textbooks come with new editions

Authors may develop the need to update their works. This could be due to them finding new materials that they feel needs to be added to their research, or they may find the need to write a new version based on current events. In most cases, this renders the old version of their books outdated and worthless, and people are forced to get the new updated version which, of course, would be more expensive.

Book Production

The book production department is responsible for the design, layout, printing, and/or e-book coding of the finished book. This is not a cheap process. If you flip through the pages of textbooks nowadays you notice the sophisticated layout and design, the sturdy binding, elegantly placed graphing and photographs. The production values are considerably high, it requires a lot of time, money and effort, and this could therefore increase the cost of the book.

Publishers Need Money Too

In book production, the work of a publisher is not exactly an easy one. Their job includes not only improving the editing and design of a book to make sure it meets a certain requirement but they are also responsible for the marketing and distribution of these books. Publishers also have to financially support the staff that not only creates the content but also markets these books. It’s reasonable that they would want to gain some kind of profit by increasing the prices for buyers.
These are just a few out of a multitude of reasons as to why the cost of textbooks might be outrageously high. However, this blog isn’t aimed at causing sheer alarm and panic about the nature of textbooks, or to make you lose your excitement about college life.

college students using used textbooks
Designed by Freepik

What can we do about it?

We at Booksrun.com also did some research of our own to find ways to make college life easier and not so expensive. Sure, textbooks are an essential part of your college experience, but you don’t have to spend a fortune on them in order to earn an education.

Right now there’s an ongoing trend between American universities to become less dependent on textbooks and publish their own course materials that would be available online for free (a system that is already widely practiced in Europe). As reported by The Washington Post a non-governmental organization known as Achieving the Dream that’s aimed at helping American students have a better college experience donated almost $10 million in grants to support the development of open-source degree programs at 38 colleges in 13 states. These programs will make use of open-source materials in place of textbooks that would easily be available for students online for free. It will also assist universities in publishing their own instructional materials that students could have easy access to. Sure, that’s some pretty good news depending on if your college is in one of these states.

However, a majority of us would have probably graduated by the time this movement is fully implemented in a majority of the American universities. That’s why we at Booksrun.com decided to search for other means to help us students deal with the ever increasing costs of textbooks. There are numerous platforms that help you find textbooks at cheaper prices. Booksrun.com doesn’t only help you buy books at cheap rates, but you can also sell your used books across the country. Why let them take up space in your shelves when you can sell them and earn money as your own personal gain? Making money couldn’t be way easier!

Want to know how much you can get for your books? Type the ISBN (or the title) of the item into the search box on our main page or scan the book’s barcode using our app.
If you have any questions, please visit our FAQ page or simply send us a message.

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