How to make college textbooks free

Photo by wohnai, via flickr

Itzel Basualdo/Contributing Writer

The average student can agree that college is expensive “AF” (absolutely farcical) due to tuition, the fees you weren’t aware of, the other hidden fees you learned of two weeks into the semester and, everyone’s favorite, college textbooks.

New textbooks are a luxury in the college realm and “book-thrifting” has become quite popular, as new books become increasingly expensive, along with nearly everything around us.

This capitalist mentality, propagated by businesses such as Barnes & Noble who sell college textbooks, has us digging holes into our pockets. The more fortunate ones just need their parents’ credit card numbers to pay for the outrageously overpriced printed assemblage.

This begs the question: Who decided college textbooks should be so expensive? Are these textbook writers millionaires leeching off the blood and sweat put into each purchase of their books?

Actually, the writers aren’t the people who we should be pointing the fingers at.

Well, we should keep some fingers pointed at them, and our professors, for complying with the system, but we shouldn’t be blaming the publishers either.

You see, while constructing this rant and attempting to gather evidence to discredit – and lightly attack – all these huge publishers, I realized the evidence was against me.

College textbooks are quite costly to make–more than you’d expect.

So, apart from the  million and one authors who collaborated on the books, there are also copyright issues that can only be resolved with money. Then you have the printing costs and the inane bonus material (talk of access codes and digital media components).

The publishers conceive this new textbook and hope that we, the ignorant youth, will succumb to their prices and purchase the new hardcover version that was just released two weeks ago!

Nonetheless, ingenuity led us to resolve the issue much more cheaply and here I am buying used, torn, dinner-dirty textbooks. Like me, there are many others that have also resorted and limited our options to the “used” section.

Because of this, alas, college textbooks just keep on getting more expensive.

It’s a catch-22. With the used book market on the rise, less college students are purchasing new textbooks, which is leading publishers to put a higher price tag on their monstrous paper productions.

What’s the solution to the ubiquitous college enigma?

It’s fairly simple: we conduct a nationwide boycott where all college students decide not to purchase new textbooks–minus that handful of overly enthusiastic students, the unbearable overachievers, who’ll cry if they break the rule.

We then riot all major publishing companies, egg their offices, hold a breathtaking and awe-evoking protest in Washington, DC in which millions of college rebels chant, “We’re not gonna take it!” endlessly.

The drama and tension escalates with the passing of every minute – screaming, posters, twerking, rioting, protests – that the publishers give up their battle against the youth.

Voila, college textbooks are free and history was made. 

1 Comment on "How to make college textbooks free"

  1. RENT your books. You can even rent USED books. Renting is substantially cheaper and makes the most sense for Core classes such as Algebra, Biology, etc. No protest necessary.

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