Textbook prices stump students

Before the start of every new semester students face a serious dilemma. As they look through their schedules, they wonder whether they should buy or rent their textbooks.

BS 2 - Kayla Stewart - feature

With a single textbook costing up to $300, students may be spending more than what they initially expected. Luckily renting and downloading e-books are possibilities as well.  | Kayla Stewart/The Daily Cougar

American Enterprise Institute says the prices of college textbooks have increased faster than the price of tuition.

According to the National Association of College Stores, a single book can cost up to $300, which is a hard hit, especially for students who are working their way through school. For most students, the battle of buying versus renting has more to do with the cost and how much it benefits them financially.

“When renting became available, it was the less expensive option. I would always rent my books,” said alumna Maritza Acosta. “It really paid off because once the semester was over, I no longer needed the book and the sell-back price was only about a third or fourth of the price you originally paid for it. Renting was the most beneficial option.”

It can also be beneficial to shop around to find the best prices and look at sell-back prices to help your decision, like health senior Marc Vazquez.

“I rent my books because they tend to be cheaper, but every time I look around Amazon and Barnes & Noble and the school website to see what the best deal is,” Vazquez said. “I also look at the sell-back price on Amazon because they give you the most money back.”

Varah Thorton, a staff member of the UH Bookstore, gave a few suggestions to make the decision of renting versus buying easier for students.

“If you are in science or business classes, look very carefully at books you need, and decide if you will need them in the long run,” Thorton said.

However, Thorton noted that for the humanities, renting is a better option because many of the books can be found for free elsewhere or will not be needed after the class ends.

Thorton also suggested renting e-books, especially since they allow students to print from them.

“With e-books you can either print a certain amount of pages per semester or a certain amount of pages per 30 days. It really just depends on how big the book is,” Thorton said. “If you’re renting an e-book, all you need is a computer to download the free Nook app or get to the Nook website and access your books. … Renting tends to be the best option.”

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1 Comment

  • Great article. I think it should also be mentioned that buying used or using a price comparison site can greatly help. My go to when I was in college last year was They compare rentals too!

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