Monday, March 25, 2013

Book Costs

After a great mini vacation from blogging and writing while my sister visited, I'm back with some questions I just need the answers to. When I get together with my Picayune, MS sister we spend time in bookstores. Even though she buys nearly all her books on her Kindle, we both enjoy the book atmosphere.

We had lots of time to discuss the advantages of ebooks from price, to access to not needing the shelf space. Though we both love the feel of traditional books, we're comfortable with where things are going right now.

When we discuss books, we cover all kinds of discussions and this time we got around to discussing the cost of college textbooks. My sister is a nurse. All you medical professionals out there know where this is going. Textbooks for students in the medical fields are some of the most expensive. I've heard tales of a single text costing more than $200. One book. At my daughter's school, her classes often require multiple books. Many of these textbooks, perhaps most of them, are not yet available in ebook or the students are encouraged to buy them in traditional form. Those books take a chunk out of a college student's  meager horde of dollars.

Why do these books cost so much? A medical book can become outdated quickly. How great would it be if you owned the ebook and could receive updated versions as they became available for a small cost or even free if you paid tons for the first edition?

Fiction ebooks have a wide range of prices and so do many nonfiction books. Why is the cost of college texts so high? Do you think they'll ever come down or turn to mainly ebooks? What is the most you've ever paid for a book?


  1. I remember the cost of books when I was in college. Small wonder so many buy them used. EBook versions make sense since they can be updated and often.

  2. I agree with Alex.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. When ebooks first came out, there was a big campaign to switch out paper textbooks with digital.

    Methinks someone was profiting too much and forced schools to stay with paper.

    It's changing, but it's surprisingly slow.

  4. I never went to college, but I know text books are horribly expensive. Schools are switching to tablets and e-books, and colleges should do the same.

  5. I hated the cost and weight of my college books. I would have loved ebooks. I imagine today's college kids would, too.

  6. The cost of books is so high because the baby boomer generation made "greed" respectable. Now greed is running rampant and books cost $200 bucks.

    BTW, I love "Keepers" but haven't reviewed it yet because I got swamped by beta reads. Almost done beta reading one author's book and then gotta get through another (as they have deadlines to meet) but I will get ours finished!

  7. It's crazy high those college books. I love the idea of them being digital. Unless is a bake book, for culinary school. I'm not sure I would want an eBook form, because I like having that great big bake book just filled with goodies.

    Glad you had a great mini vacation. I put in for one at work but won't know if I get it until next week. Just four days off but I would love it.

    Cheers to you friend. And a great big boogie boogie.

  8. On a practical side, some of the costs come from limited publishing and the amount of graphics (think, for example of a medical book or math or chemistry) used within text books. I imagine there's also a great cost to the authors/editors for putting together a book with enormous content.

    And profit. No doubt. You have a captive audience. We spent $400 on a text book for my son in his Engineering program. Gulp.

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  10. Excuse me, Michael Offutt, S.F.A, but happen to be a member of the baby boomer generation and I have never considered profit respectable. Perhaps you could trim down the width of that brush.

    But I do think profit is the motivator here. Someone mentioned students buying used text books. Of course, they do. Which means the same book gets sold over and over and over. Until the newer version comes out and everyone has to buy that. E-books would put a serious dent in that cycle.

    (I deleted and re-posted my comment because of a significant typo.)

  11. Technical books cost more because you are paying for the expertise that went into writing it. Although $200??? I never paid that.

    The most I paid for a book was the Limited jewelled edition of Beedle the Bard which cost me a hundred.

    As for ebooks, I won't pay over $5.

  12. Seriously, I believe the cost of school text books are just to make money for the colleges. Or the authors of the text book.


  13. Back when I was in college, the prices of books were crazy, too. I always chalked it up to the fact that they charged those prices...because they could.