Going back to school after the summer is like finally getting the vacation you deserve. After spending months at home helping your mom with chores, adhering to a curfew (or arguing it and getting grounded. Yes, grounded), and not having nearly enough alcohol in your system, you get to go back to the resort that it college. An endless supply of tequila, hookup buddies, and bad decisions await you, and the only cost? Thousands (upon thousands) of dollars in housing, tuition, and worst of all, textbooks.
According to NBC News, the cost of textbooks have gone up a 1,041 percent increase since 1977. And the reason? Because they’re sold like drugs. Literally.
From the article:
“They’ve been able to keep raising prices because students are ‘captive consumers.’ They have to buy whatever books they’re assigned,” said Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
In some ways, this is similar to a pharmaceutical sales model where the publishers spend their time wooing the decision makers to adopt their product. In this case, it’s professors instead of doctors.
“Professors are not price-sensitive and they then assign and students have no say,” said Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless, a free and low-cost textbook publisher.
Unlike drugs, there’s no “textbook insurance” to cover the out of pocket costs.
Sure, we’re getting smarter now when it comes to buying textbooks by renting them, getting the electronic version, or just saying “to hell with it” and using some nerd’s book when the test comes up, but that doesn’t make this any less annoying. The companies know that for the most part, we have to buy these books (much like addicts – we can’t really function successfully without them), so they can sell them for absurd prices. $350 for intro to Micro Economics? Sure, because that’s how I want to get deeper into debt. By buying a book for a class I’ll most likely cheat in (or coast through with solid C’s, thanks to the study files at the house).
Hopefully the world will stop screwing us over and let us go back to spending our money on what it should really be spent on. Starbucks, alcohol, and actual drugs..
[via NBC News]