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Organizations Seek to Lower the High Cost of U.S. Texbooks

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A recent study compiled by the California Student Public Interest Research Group, or CALPIRG, discovered that students polled at UCI spend an average of $323.16 per quarter on textbooks. A student can be expected to spend close to $1,000 on textbooks in the duration of one school year.
The rising textbook prices, paired with the escalating cost of tuition, are causing students to seek more affordable alternatives.
‘I rarely buy books from the bookstore,’ said third-year earth and environmental science major Diana Hsueh. ‘It’s more affordable to buy books online.’
According to a recent New York Times article, many textbooks from U.S. publishers cost one-third to 50 percent less in Britain, India and other countries.
Publishers contend overseas textbook prices only reflect foreign economic conditions, maintaining that the practice of selling U.S. products abroad at local market prices is not unusual.
Dan Dooros, interim executive director of Student Affairs Auxiliary Services, feels that students have access to more than one option when it comes to purchasing course books.
‘Students are free to find the best deal. [The UCI Bookstore tries] to provide every book that students will need with the costs we need to cover our expenses,’ Dooros said. ‘We just cannot endure loss. It is not a viable business proposition.’
Dooros also feels that there are no good answers as to why publishers are selling textbooks to overseas bookstores for less than what they charge U.S. bookstores.
According to Hanan Eisenman, media coordinator for admissions at the UC Office of the President, the UC is concerned with the price of textbooks for its students.
‘Needy students already have allowances to purchase textbooks within their financial aid packages,’ Eisenman said. ‘University of California calculates the price of textbooks into the estimated cost of attendance which is taken into consideration when awarding aid.’
A number of organizations across the country are aware of the increasing costs of textbooks and are working to combat this problem.
CALPIRG has launched ‘Affordable Books for An Affordable Education’ and campusbookswap.com, programs that help students find used textbooks, works with faculty to give students more textbook options and tries to advocate permanent change in the industry’s practices.
Dooros agrees with CALPIRG’s key concept that the best option a student has to reduce his or her textbook costs is to buy used textbooks. However, he explained that UCI has high percentages of used books.
‘The UCI Bookstore has the highest percent of used books to new books