How Campus Bookstores Rip Off Broke College Students

By: Mr. Wade

While colleges and universities have all sorts of ingenious ways to get their dirty little hands on money that students borrow, the campus bookstore racket is perhaps the most shameless. If you have ever been a college student, you know exactly what I’m talking about – it’s been going on for a long time. In the past campus bookstores had near complete monopolies – students have to have books to succeed in college, and there were few other options. This is not true today – students now have a plethora of options and opportunities to save money. Here are some ways the textbook industry keeps you paying the most.

#1 “Updates”

Once a popular textbook is several years old, lots and lots of used copies are available. Professors who write textbooks get a cut of the profits on new copies, so it’s in their best interest to “update” the book once new copy sales start to decline due to the availability of used copies. So, they’ll make you think that some new research in their field has come to light, and this sometimes does happen. But more often than not, they are just rearranging some chapters, swapping out some images, and adding a few paragraphs here and there, and voila, all the students the country have to purchase a brand new copy. In a few years, they’ll do it all over again.

It’s a feather in a professor’s cap to slap their name on a textbook, and they take great pride in it in addition to the money they make.

#2 Inflated Prices

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think a textbook should cost $300. Prices are creeping up and up every year, making the textbook industry currently worth 14 billion. Professors would like you to think their content is so priceless that these exorbitant numbers are totally worth it, but that’s often not the case. Many college students rarely open their textbooks, but they have to have them for fear they will fail their classes.

It’s more about money – just like everything else right? The trouble is that these people can basically charge what they want, and broke students living on borrowed money from mountains of student loan debt must pay up.

What Can a Student Do?

A lot, but it’ll take a bit of work. Look for our next post on “How to Save Money on College Textbooks”.