Archived MCC News

Student Blogger: College textbook prices

Posted on 02.13.17

According to a study from April of 2009 by the University of Michigan Library, textbook prices between 1986 and 2004 and increased at twice the rate of inflation. For the school year of 2003-2004, the average 4-year undergraduate spent $898 for textbooks.

Over a decade later, college board now estimates that the average 4 year undergraduate pays up to $1,250 on average for a year of textbooks. And, according to the National Association of College Stores, the average price of a textbook has increased from $57 in 2007 to $81 in 2014.

Luckily, there are more ways than ever to save money for school and pay for those textbooks, from scholarships to Federal Aid to community college courses. Here are some tips on how to save on those textbooks.

Buy used. Buying used is well-known to be the easiest way to get a better deal on books. Used textbooks can be anywhere from $10 to $60 cheaper! As long as you don't mind a bit of dog earing, consider this option.

Purchase an older edition. A 2004 study by the California Student Public Interest Research Group found that new editions cost 58% more than older editions. In some cases, the only difference is some changed graphics and varying page numbers. Warning: Check with your instructor before doing this! You don't want to be behind in class because you have outdated information!

Rent. Renting textbooks, especially expensive ones, can save quite a bit of money. Textbook renting is available through the MCC Online Bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers. Ebook rentals are also available – no more carrying around heavy books!

Compare prices. There is an urban myth that textbooks cost a premium at campus bookstores. However, this isn't always the case! This semester, I had a book that ended up costing $20 less through the MCC Online Bookstore than any other retailer. Look at all your options to get the best deal!

Try out Amazon Prime. This one is for you last minute shoppers! Amazon Prime offers free 2-day shipping on a large amount of items on their website, including textbooks. Not only that, but when you use a student email, you can get a six-month free trail of the service!

And remember, you can always sell back textbooks at the end of the semester the MCC Online Bookstore!


Happy textbook hunting!


Adriana Petrungaro