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Why College text books are so expensive and how to reduce cost.

Publisher Consolidation, New Versions, Bundling Extras like CDs, Used books. E-books and online books can reduce costs.

With the increasing cost of college, the issue of high cost of college textbooks is becoming a big concern. Many people are looking for solutions to reduce the high costs of text books and also wondering why these textbooks are so expensive anyway.

Textbooks are used by college professors either as a source of supplemental teaching material or as the main source of teaching material. Textbooks provide about 80% of instructions in the classroom and many professors spend a lot of time selecting the best texts for their students.

However, the costs of these text books is growing faster than other college costs and many students, parents and politicians are left wondering what is causing this high rise in prices.

One cause of the high cost is because there are fewer Textbook Publishers due to consolidation in the publishing industry. Publishing also has high cost of entry and this makes it difficult for newer companies to start publishing. These costs include printing costs, costs to hire reviewers and editors, and distribution costs.

Publishers however say that their industry is not very profitable because they have to pay royalties to Authors and compete with the used books market.

To increase their profits, publishers therefore try to bring new editions of books as often as possible so as to offset sales lost by students buying used books. This is why there are many new versions of every text book almost every year.

Publishers also increase costs of new text books by bundling things like CDs and workbooks and online materials into the new texts. These extras are usually not used and the student ends up paying for things he/she will not use.

The practice of dumping textbooks that are not sold in the US abroad at lower cost is another thing that ends up increasing costs of textbooks for US students. Publishers say that students abroad cannot afford the books at full price, so they sell them at lower prices there. So this ends up resulting in US students paying more money for textbooks to subsidize foreign sales.

Students deal with these textbook cost increases in various ways. They can share the text with classmates or rent a text from a book vendor. Other students use electronic textbooks like Kindle versions which are often cheaper.

Universities are also trying to reduce textbook costs by using e-textbooks or having faculty members print their own textbooks by choosing only the materials they need for the particular course. Some colleges also use free textbook downloads supported by advertisement.

Publishers also try to reduce costs by sending fewer samples to professors to have them review for adoption and having those sample books returned if they are not adopted.

However online books and e-books like kindle version represent the best way to reduce costs of test books.