In this Washington Post article “Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative” Lauren Lumpkin tells how students are doing “what they can to avoid paying full price for textbooks.” She discusses student strategies ranging from bargain hunting to buying used books to renting from book publishers along with other innovative solutions.
“Now in his third year at George Washington University, 20-year-old Sebastian Reyes knows better.
His first semester on campus, the international affairs major said he spent $400 on textbooks. By sophomore year, he had wised up and started looking for books in the library. This month, he estimates he’ll spend about 48 hours in the library making scanned copies of textbooks and scouring the Internet for free PDFs.
GWU is “a private institution. A lot of people here have the luxury of saying, ‘I can just buy the books.’ I, personally, can’t,” Reyes said. “I definitely have to find my way around things to thrive.”
As students return to campus for spring semester, many will do what they can to avoid paying full price for textbooks. The cost can be a barrier for students, particularly for those who are already in debt or come from low-income families.
Some students search for bargains and buy secondhand materials. Others rent from book publishers, many of which lease books to students at discounted prices.
Students such as Reyes play a game of wait-and-see and avoid buying books for as long as possible. Sixty-five percent of college students said they have delayed buying a textbook because it was too expensive and, in some cases, done so even though they were worried the decision would hurt their grade, according to the consumer advocacy group U.S. PIRG.
“When you grow older, you realize, I don’t need the book. I have my notes, I have the lectures, I have the slides and the PowerPoints. I’m good,” Reyes said. He said he doesn’t buy books he feels he will not need, and he once had a professor who asked the class to purchase a textbook Reyes never opened. It was the most expensive textbook he bought that year…”
(If you are interested in reading the complete article click on “Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative“)
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.