News that’s not really news: textbooks are super expensive. The below infographic, courtesy of OnlineEducation.net, does a good job of displaying some of that depression visually. But here’s a few other facts to consider, then we’ll let you be the judge of whether textbook prices are fair or whether it’s practically theft:
- The National Association of College Stores said that about a third of every sales dollar goes directly to production cost–it turns out that all those glossy, colored pages are expensive–while another 12 cents goes to royalties. That’s nearly half the cost of the textbook already.
- Textbook publishers have comparatively small print runs, meaning they don’t enjoy the benefit of mass production.
- The traditional relationship between “producer” and “consumer”–that is, publisher and reader–doesn’t exist in the textbook world. Professors act as middlemen, choosing books students are then obliged to buy based on quality, not price. And professors have little cost incentive to stay cheap since they don’t have to buy anything.
- Publishers argue that used books sales and textbook rentals have shrunk profits and their customer base, meaning they have to charge more per book to stay profitable.