Students Discuss Changes in Textbook Pricing

    A close up of a highlighted book. As many students return to the classroom, they may find physical textbooks rather than ebooks or PDFs more expensive. Image courtesy of Pexels on Canva.

    Being in school during a global pandemic has been a challenge for many. Having classes online, never meeting your peers face-to-face and only seeing your professor through a screen are just some issues students have had to face. Something that might not have seemed influenced by the pandemic for school is the price of textbooks.

    Why are Prices Different?

    Many places followed lockdown regulations at the beginning of the pandemic which made it difficult for students to receive their textbooks on time. Around the world businesses and companies have experienced high demand, but with closed production and little supply. the demand has not been met.

    Following protocols for lockdown, many businesses had to follow social distancing rules as well. Having these guidelines in place made it harder for students to receive their textbooks in-person rather than ordering them online and having them sent straight to their door.

    Because of this, multiple classes that switched to being online changed their policies for textbooks. At many universities, professors found textbooks that they could share with the entire class through files rather than students having to buy their textbooks. Professors as well seemed to be more understanding if students could not access their textbook or if the textbook was still backordered.

    Students Respond to Textbook Prices

    Izel Guzman, a senior art history major at the University of Northern Colorado said that the prices of her textbooks have not gone down, but instead the accessibility to her textbooks is what changed the price. Many of her classes had the textbook either as an e-version which she said could have at a lower price due to no shipping fees from the book’s company, or the textbook was put on Canvas which made her not have to buy a textbook at all.


    “Online classes kind of almost cut out the need for textbooks which, obviously, during the pandemic is, like, incredibly beneficial because you’re already having to spend money on things like, you know, basic supplies for living. And so, not having to spend it on textbooks, you’re able to redirect your money somewhere else,” she said.

    Senior business finance and economics major Micayla Galavotti agreed that her professors changed ways students could access textbooks as well as finding cheaper options online.

    “I think, like, everyone else was trying to give people a break during the pandemic because they knew people might have lost their jobs. I think maybe the school or the people who sell the textbooks were trying to do the same thing,” she said.

    Textbook Prices Ever-changing

    Although there might be a change in textbook prices for online versus in-person classes, the actual price for the books have not changed. As many colleges go back to in-person classes following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and their state, the prices for textbooks might increase as professors could go back to their regular policies.

    Learn more about textbook rentals and prices, go here.


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