Study: Are college textbook prices out of control?

Study: Are college textbook prices out of control?

Tyler (KYTX) --  A staple in a college student's coursework is getting so expensive-- more than half admit they've gone without. CBS19's Jaime Gerik breaks down the rising cost of college textbooks.

"I spent 550 dollars I think on just 3 books last semester," Erica Manzanarez, a sophomore at Tyler Junior College, said.

The sticker prices she's seeing are enough to make her cringe.

"They are ridiculous and I can't get that money back, regardless of what I do," Manzanarez said.

According to the Government Accountability Office, textbook prices rose 82% between 2002 and 2013. Sometimes a single book can run almost $200, and students tell us they feel trapped.

"Most teachers keep mentioning the new edition this and that. So if you try to work with the old edition, you're just making it a lot harder on yourself," Manzanarez said.

A TJC professor can speak to that. She explains a first-class education demands the latest information--so it's not useful to have a book that's several years old.

"In political science, for example, we have new elections and you want to be able to provide the information with that," Jan McCauley, who teaches history and government, said.

And prices concern faculty too.

"We never buy the most expensive ones. In fact, we work with the textbook publishers to say how can we reduce this cost?" McCauley said.

She recommends students do what you do with anything else, and shop around if at all possible.

An advocacy group called the U.S. PIRG is accusing publishers of using a set of tactics to drive up textbook costs. In a survey, they found 65 percent of students decided not to buy a book because it was too expensive.


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