College is expensive enough without wasting money on unneeded textbooks

Students are not using textbooks for learning, instead they are sitting on a dusty shelf


Many student’s textbooks are starting to pile up because it is challenging to sell them back. Professor’s need to take the time to research different, more affordable and accessible options for their students instead. (Photo illustration by Maya Barber)

Maya Barber, Staff Writer

It is very expensive to attend college. You have to pay for your classes, materials, in some cases dormitory, and textbooks. While all of these expenses are important, some professors are requiring students to buy textbooks that they end up not using. 

Textbooks are a tool that professors use to help explain concepts in a better way, as they use the content within to support and formulate an accurate lesson plan for students. Moreover, they allow students to get an in-depth understanding of the subject matter.

At the beginning of the school year, professors have a list of textbooks to purchase before class starts and it is the student’s job to buy, rent or borrow these materials. 

Textbook prices fluctuate every year, depending on what classes you take or how new the book is. Over the past three semesters at American River College I have spent $470.25 buying and renting textbooks at the ARC bookstore, and this number does not include other purchases made on outside websites. 

Purchasing almost $500 worth of textbooks and then only using a couple of pages of a book and or not opening them at all because professors are not assigning reading assignments is unacceptable. There are a plethora of other ways this money could have been spent and or saved.

Many students come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and are stretching their last dollars on textbooks because teachers are stressing how important it is to buy a specific textbook. 

Yes, textbook buybacks are sometimes an option, but not often enough. In order to sell your textbook back, the class needs to be using the same exact book edition the next semester and that is very unlikely. With the ever-growing world, new information is found every day, and textbook writers keep making new editions. 

When professors assign textbooks they need to do their research and take into account the majority of students’ needs. This means assessing the book and asking critical thinking questions that determine if the book is unquestionably needed for this class.

Moreover, they should be making educated decisions when determining if students need to buy a new edition of a book, especially if only a small part is changed. Last year’s textbook will be cheaper because it is an older version.  

However, if you have to purchase a new textbook, rentals and used books are a great alternative to buying a new one every year. They provide the same information, but at a more affordable price, and from my experience they are normally in great condition and sometimes include sticky notes from the previous person which is a great help. 

College already costs a lot. If professors take an extra second to do some additional research, this will allow students to not waste their hard-earned money on books that sit on the bookshelf and collect dust all semester. They would have the opportunity to use the textbook to the best of its ability.