OP: Editions and high price hold the textbook industry back

29 January 2019

Logan Davel

[email protected]

     Each and every student at UCCS already has or is going to face the same monolithic system this semester: the buying of textbooks. It’s the same old adage when students begin their classes, take a trip over to the bookstore, grab their required textbooks and then groan as the dollars begin to add up at the register.

    There are two primary flaws in the textbook industry that need to be addressed. The first is the plethora of revisions and editions. It appears that rather than creating a fully comprehensive text, most textbook companies rely on their ability to release a new edition every few years. While this might benefit fields that are continuously changing like the sciences, it holds no benefit when the publisher doesn’t sufficiently change the text.

    In the publisher’s opinion, changing chapter order and adding color to the pages suddenly means that they need to further torment students’ bank accounts.

    Along with this issue, professors take it upon themselves to covet this latest edition of the textbook as though its apparent groundbreaking nature is divine, thus forcing students to set aside their often adequate previous editions.

    The second flaw is that of cost, which centers around two questions: Why is the educational system plagued by such a need to make money? Secondly, why are students so brainwashed as to pay such extravagant prices on textbooks?

    The College Board estimates that the average student, including grade-school through college levels, spends approximately $1,200 a year on textbooks and other school supplies.This textbook crisis becomes even more apparent through information provided in a PIRG report titled “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market.” The report indicated that 65 percent of polled students decided against purchasing a textbook because of the cost and 48 percent said that the cost of textbooks directly impacted their choice in classes.

    What can a student do to beat, and eventually break, this system? There are three options.

    The first is to rely solely on the library, though this is not the most recommended option due to limited availability.

    The second option is to instead purchase used textbooks, an option that is currently present for a reasonable selection in the UCCS Bookstore.

    The third option and perhaps most pragmatic is the use of the UCCS library book scanner. It allows any student to take a book through the process of scanning each page in a high-resolution, color pdf format for digital use on their devices. It should be noted that it is a lengthy process, requiring the scanning of each individual page, however, spending an hour of time is quite worth the hundreds of dollars.