Solutions for high-priced college textbooks

By: Christine Nicholson Email
By: Christine Nicholson Email

According to the National Association of College Stores, every textbook dollar goes toward the expenses of the publishers, the author, shipping costs and the operations of the college store. (WRDW-TV / July 27, 2011)

TEXOMA -- The steady rise of college textbook prices is a concern for many Texoma students starting college this week. This Mom's Everyday Money segment, focuses on ways your college student can work around these increased costs.

Today the average amount college students spend on textbooks has soared from about $900 a year to almost $1,300 in just the past three years. That's according to 20 Million Minds, a foundation that aims to reduce textbook costs.

College students like Abdurrahman Allawala, a senior at Austin College in Sherman, have ways to cover these increased prices.

"I've been really blessed with a great internship over the summer and they paid for a lot," he said. "It's how I was able to buy textbooks, it's how I was able to fund a lot of what I'm doing now. My parents have also been a great help but my internship really helped me out.

But for students like Austin College senior Sameen Wajid, it's been a different road. "I worked part time and that's how I funded all of my texbooks," she said.

A report by the Government Accountability Office, attributes the rise in textbook prices to several factors including publishers charging higher prices by adding supplemental products, or supplying books with cheap production cost such as a loose leaf paper format but still selling each for over $100.

Bookstore employee and Austin College senior Blake Barnes says the book store there is sympathetic to this dilemna. Besides selling new and used books, the bookstore also offers a rental service along with digital textbooks.

"So there's about four different options that you can use," said Blake. "Just depending upon if you want to actually purchase the book and keep it versus if you just want to rent it and still use it and mark it if you just want to keep on your ipod or iphone or your tablet whatever you want."

Not everyone is a fan of electronic books. Abdurrahman said he didn't like the fact that he wasn't able to highlight and the software wasn't compatible for all computers. "I can understand for copyright reasons the reasons why they didn't allow that," he added. "I just thought they'd be a little bit more open-sourced friendly but I know they're making changes."

Still, bookstore employees say e-books and rentals are still popular options. Sameen especially likes rental books.

"I rent instead of buying because it's easier," said Sameen. "You can get the books right here in the store the same day your professor assigns like two chapters for you to read and so I just rent it and that way they allow you to highlight and take notes in the textbook. It's very convenient."

Finally, another option is found outside the university. Robert Crowley Branch Manager at one of Denison's American Bank of Texas says students with savings accounts can have more peace of mind when it's time to buy textbooks.

"We can help you come up with a plan to maybe raise your savings amount that you put back each month and we'd be happy to help you look at your financial picture and see if we can provide some information for you," Crowley said.

And if you don't already have one, he advises you to open a savings account as soon as possible and "the best thing to do is just to make monthly contributions or weekly contributions."

For more information on how you can set up a savings account for your college student’s textbook and other college fees, call American Bank of Texas in Denison at (903) 463-3510 or visit for other Texoma locations and lobby hours.

American Bank of Texas - Denison
931 W. Main AND 3326 FM 120 (Morton St.)
Denison, TX 75021

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