First, a bipartisan agreement on a proposal to control book prices was settled on and passed to congress, the summer of 2008. The agreement requires publishers to inform professors of book prices by providing them with accurate price lists so that professors could consider whether to assign a book to a class or not. This way, professors could consider if it would be worth it if they assign hideously expensive books to their students or not? Some students forgo buying assigned textbooks when they are too pricey. If aware of such concerns, professors may even start assigning selections that are easier on the pocket.
The new law also requires publishers to discontinue “bundled” textbooks, referring to packages that typically consist of a textbook, CD-ROMS along with workbooks and Web tools. While it is true that students get better grades when they learn about all the extras, some are choosing not to buy at all because the extras still add up to a considerable tag price. Now, with this law, students can buy just the tools they need. There won’t be any reason to spend money on the entire set anymore when a textbook is all they are after.
The emergence of E-books has also provided undergraduates with many options. While some may still appreciate the tactile experience of reading a book they’re holding in their hands, plenty of students actually prefer reading E-books nowadays. Some E-books could even be downloaded at a reduced price—with 30-50 percent discounts—or at no cost at all. There are already numerous E-books archived on many sites like Project Gutenberg. There’s also the trusty Google Books that is considerably helpful when students need to read or research on books that have no copyrights such as literary classics. It’s not any wonder why many undergraduates who insist on cutting on costs and saving their dimes and nickels while they earn their degrees in university believe the E-book is a better choice than its printed counterpart.
However, while it’s certainly a load off a student’s shoulders for textbook costs to be taken care of, downloading a number of books from many sites has its own drawbacks. One is the fact that downloading entire books feel too much like the illegal sharing of original works. Sites like textbooktorrents.com came under fire last year of July for offering entire books for download.
Another option that students can explore is to go to college bookstores or national companies that have a rent-a-textbook program. Why buy it if you can borrow it, at less the price? A student, who absolutely needs to buy an assigned book or two and is under a tight budget, can resort to the use of second-hand books to save up on fees. However, if a student ends up damaging or losing the book, he or she would need to pay the full retail price of the item.
So whether it’s the new law, e-books and book rentals at schools, one thing is for certain: cutting down on expenses is hard enough. Having these options handy would help tremendously in controlling the costs for parents and students.