Archive | College Textbook Information RSS feed for this section

A Textbook Dilemma

18 Sep

It’s a familiar topic at the beginning of a semester: textbook prices are increasing exponentially. The College Board estimates that an average U.S. college student spends $1,200 a year on textbooks — a figure representing an 82 percent increase in cost since 2002. That’s triple the rate of inflation in the United States. USF estimates students will spend $1,600 on textbooks per year, a significant expense for students and their families. By not giving students serious alternatives to expensive books, USF makes college less accessible for lower-income students and families.

Like most universities, USF subcontracts the sale of books to a third party, Follett Higher Education Group. Follett sets the prices for books sold on campus and provides a buyback service for students at the end of the semester. However, students expecting to get a fair value when reselling textbooks are routinely disappointed. Follett buys books back at up to 50 percent of their value before turning them around and reselling them as used books higher prices indefinitely.

Textbook prices have soared continually due to the specific nature of the textbook market: few publishers control the majority of the market, and students do not have a say in which texts they are assigned. Five massive educational publishers dominate the market, accounting for 80 percent of all sales. This prevents competition which could potentially drive down prices from entering the market. Further, professors assign book lists without personal financial consequence. Students must buy the books in order to pass the class. This degree of separation benefits textbook publishers, who therefore sell to a captive market with few options.

Read More

Advertisements

College textbooks are going the way of Netflix

13 Sep

A new copy of Glenn Hubbard and Tony O’Brien’s widely used introductory economics textbook costs more than some smartphones. The phone can send you to any part of the web and holds access to the sum of human knowledge. The book is about 800 heavy pages of static text.
Yet thousands of college students around the US are shelling out $250 for these books, each semester, wincing at the many hours ahead of trying to make sense of this attempt to distill the global economy into tiny widgets and graphs. It’s a lot of money for what often feels like mind-numbing, low-grade torture. And it’s tradition. Many of their parents did it before them. It is a rite of passage.

Perhaps no more.

Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, and O’Brien, his co-author, have spent the last three years transforming their classic textbook into a product that can only be described as “education software.” Hubbard and O’Brien worked with an editor for a year and a half to determine what material would be text, and what was better suited for video or interactives. They then spent the same amount of time testing the book on students and professors. The new, virtual version makes its debut this fall. (And it’s one of the resources Texas A&M professor Jon Meer plans to use for his core undergraduate microeconomics course that is going online-only this year for the first time.)

This is the beginning of the end for college’s least enjoyable semi-annual tradition: when kids at the start of each semester have to trek to the school bookstore and walk out textbook-laden, wallet-light. On average, US college students end up spending about $1,200 on books a year.

Read More

How Illinois students are borrowing textbooks for free

31 Aug

The quest for the cheapest textbooks takes students to the farthest reaches of the internet. But there is one online source for getting textbooks that many college students might not realize they have access to: interlibrary loan.

It’s a service that lets students borrow books from any academic or public library in Illinois (and, in some cases, the world). And through I-Share, the database of books available to borrow in Illinois, students can borrow books up to 16 weeks, said Sandy Harris, interlibrary loan manager at Olivet Nazarene University, which adds up to almost a full semester.

Olivet receives more than 2,500 books for students per week on average. While not all of those are textbooks, many of them are, Harris said. If a student has questions on how to get started, they should just ask a librarian. “There are a lot of references to support you if you just come into the library and ask,” Harris said.

And while many students use ILL services for journal articles, Harris added, many students don’t realize they can borrow everything from textbooks to DVDs from 86 participating libraries all over the state.

Read More

Mizzou trying to reduce cost of textbooks

28 Jul

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The University of Missouri System President Mun Choi announced plans to reduce the cost of attendance and improve students’ education.
The school is now using online databases to reduce the costs of textbooks for students. The system-wide initiative is expected to save students $7.2 million.

Source KSHB

World’s oldest Physics textbook sells for over $790,000

14 May

Some people may have hated their Physics textbooks in schools, but this one just got a lot of love to the tune of over $790,000, or nearly P40 million. According to a report on New Atlas, a dedication copy of Galileo Galilei’s “Discorsi e dimostrazioni matematiche, intorno due nuove scienze attenenti alla mecanica & i movimenti locali (Discourses and Mathematical Demonstrations Relating to Two New Sciences)” was sold for €727,919 (US$791,190). The report noted that the artifact is “regarded by many as the world’s first Physics textbook.” – See more at: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/scitech/science/610375/world-s-oldest-physics-textbook-sells-for-over-790-000/story/#sthash.Eis1WBGa.dpuf