ATG Article of the Week: Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative.

by | Feb 22, 2020 | 0 comments

In this Washington Post article “Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creativeLauren 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“)

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