How Much Do Textbooks Cost?
Whether purchasing books for high school classes or college courses, the cost of text books can really add up. Each class usually requires at least one text book, sometime two or three. While high school text books are normally used for an entire year, and therefore this is a once-a-year cost, college textbooks need to be purchased every semester. This means that the cost of textbooks could be an issue at least twice, maybe even four times per year.
How much is it?
- The total cost of books at the high school level is usually between $60 and $500. This price depends on what curriculum your school uses as well as how many academic classes the student is taking.
- According to the National Association of College Stores, the average college textbook was $57 for the academic year in 2010.
- For example, the curriculum available through McGraw-Hill, a popular curriculum for regular high school classes as well as AP classes, runs between $60 and $100 for a classroom text book. Their Geometry book is $75.
- Other curriculum, such as A Beka Book, is specifically designed for Christian education and can be much cheaper. For example, their Grammar book is only $15.
- The total cost of books at a college level will usually be much higher. Depending on the number of credits, the price can vary from $200-$1000 per semester. According to CollegeBoard.com, the national average for college textbooks is $1,137 per year.
What is going to be included?
- Many books come with a cd-rom version of many of the lessons as well as charts, graphs, pictures, etc. that go with the curriculum. This cd-rom will have a key that can only be used once. This is a way for textbook companies to prevent the students from selling the book used.
What are the extra costs?
- Many classes require a work book or lab manual in addition to the actually textbook. These books are usually cheaper, smaller, and more flimsy. The reason for this is that they are meant for the student to write in and are not meant to be used by more than one person. These work books and lab manuals are usually around $15-$50.
- Optional study guides may be required outside of the book. These are guides that allow the student to write in them as the classes go on.
- Some classes will need some type of computer program to complete as well. For example a class on Microsoft Office will require that the student has a computer which runs MS office programs. This software is usually extra, but can also be purchased at a discount if it is for a class.
- Other textbooks may require additional learning material that is used online. This material can be viewed using a special log-in code.
Tips to know:
- Check with your professor or college bookstore to find out what book you’re going to need for your class. Once you find out what book you’re going to need, always make sure that you check with at least three different comparison sites. It’s best to get the ISBN to ensure that you have the exact book.
- Shop early, and be sure to shop online. 99% of the time, the book is going to be the cheapest online. If possible, try to buy used.
How can I save money?
- The best way to save money on text books at the high school and college level is to buy each textbook used. It is very important, however, that you match the exact ISBN of the required textbook so that you get the correct version, especially since each textbook has many different issues and volumes.
- Used text books can be purchased through sites such as Amazon.com and BookByte.com. These websites offer discounts of 20%-80% off original prices; these new prices will be determined by the demand for the book as well as the condition of the book.
- eBook versions are becoming more and more popular these days and can cost significantly less. These books can be viewed on eBook readers such as the Kindle, Nook, etc.
- Sometimes you may find that renting a book can be a lot cheaper than actually buying the book. Popular book renter websites such as BookRenter.com can help you save up to 70%+