The beginning of each semester can be a rude awakening for students when it comes time to buy textbooks. Cheaper textbooks, used books and rentals should be more accessible to students.
One of the easiest ways for a student to find all of the textbooks they need is to purchase them at the bookstore in Coffman Union. But what the student gains in convenience, he or she loses in affordability âÄî the books there are overpriced. The University of MinnesotaâÄôs bookstore offers used textbooks and the option to rent some, but they need to do more. Many books donâÄôt have used copies available despite advertising used prices. The University bookstore should also offer more textbooks in paperback and unbound textbooks to help students save. For example, the French department sells some books without heavy covers or binding âÄî the pages are three-hole-punched so students can put them in a binder and pay less.
Some students must also purchase expensive course packets. Because of copyright laws, these small clips from random texts make packets expensive. Professors can, instead of assigning course packets, scan readings and make them available on the courseâÄôs website to save students money.
Other places such as Oak Street Textbooks offer mostly used textbooks and rentals, but prices are not significantly lower than the University bookstoreâÄôs. Alternative bookstores are helpful, but often the right textbooks arenâÄôt available.
The burden of fighting high textbook prices falls on everyone. Professors should offer more readings free on Moodle, bookstores should offer cheaper options, and students should venture outside of Coffman for the best deals.