City College student doesn’t think so

by Lovelle R. Harris | Staff Writer

A college education is priceless –  but the rising cost of textbooks is not one I am willing to pay.

Don’t get me wrong – I love books. From the way they smell to the way they sit obediently in my lap and transport me to another place, time or state of mind. What I don’t love, however, is the ridiculously high price of textbooks.

In my journey as a college student at City College I’ve been subject to the book publishers’ money-making machine for years, forking over my hard-earned cash for expensive one-use books.

While there are options like book buy-back programs offered at the City College bookstore, these only allow students to recoup a fraction of the cost of our books.

Full-time students spent nearly 60 percent of their budget on textbooks in the 2007 – 2008 academic year, according to an audit report on the affordability of college textbooks released by the state of California in August 2008.

According to another report on the cost of textbooks in postsecondary education released by the United States Government Accountability Office in June 2005, the price of college textbooks has risen at twice the rate of inflation for the last two decades.

Fortunately, there is a reprieve for City College students in the form of online book rental services and the City College library reserves.

Chegg.com, for instance, promises a discount ranging from 65 to 80 percent of the purchase price to rent textbooks, and many instructors reserve copies of their required texts for students to use on-site in the library.

The next time that my coursework requires that I purchase one of those expensive textbooks, you can bet that I’ll be checking out the book reserve and Chegg.com instead.

Although I would love to add a first edition of Jack Kerouac’s 1957 “On the Road” to my collection, I’ll gladly take a loaner of “Mathematical Ideas” from a book rental site at a 50 percent of the $134.67 list price set by its publisher.

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