Textbook prices discourage students

Tuition is not the only major expense that students have to consider when it comes to enrolling in college.

The cost of textbooks, which often run upwards of $200 or more per book, can leave students feeling discouraged.

“It’s frustrating,” said business student Marissa Sawyer.

“My total cost of books this semester was over $600, and half of those were just access codes which means I can’t sell them back. I have no idea why we have to pay so much.”

According to the Government Accountability Office, over the last twenty years, textbook prices have risen at a rate of three times greater than that of inflation.

While anger is an understandable reaction to the price of textbooks, it is often misdirected.

Student Samantha Bartley works in the MCCC bookstore and wants her fellow students to know the store is not responsible for the high prices.

“The bookstore doesn’t make a lot of money off of textbooks,” Bartley said. “We’re here to make it easier for students to access the textbooks they need. We sell the books for the lowest possible price we can.”

“I also want to add that we don’t get any discounts for working in the bookstore,” Bartley said. “We deal with the high prices just like everyone else.”
Student Molly Siedlecki, who also works in the bookstore, agreed.

“People generally understand that we are not responsible for setting the prices, though we do occasionally get yelled at,” Siedlecki said.

“I would encourage those who are frustrated with cost of textbooks to contact the book’s publisher.”

Amy Salliotte, an administrative assistant who works in the bookstore, said the bookstore works hard to make textbooks as affordable as possible.

“We try to save students money by purchasing as many used and rental texts as we can,” Salliotte said.

“We focus on having the books that professors are looking for. We make sure to have current editions and correct access codes.”

Outside of the MCCC bookstore, sites like Amazon, Valore Books, and Chegg allow students to rent textbooks at a discounted price.

Nursing student Tina Reaume said she is able to keep her costs down by renting her textbooks online.

“Text books are over-priced and under-utilized in class,” Reaume said. “It is best to rent them online and return them at the end of the semester.”

Because many textbooks are required, students can sometimes feel like there is little they can do.

Grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study can help subsidize the cost of both tuition and books.

Students interested in any of these options are encouraged to fill out the FAFSA form and make an appointment with Financial Aid.