Textbooks fall in price as electronic book prices continue to rise

Jessica Xu

Converting physical copies of textbooks to digital ones has reformed what booksellers provide to college students, and has made buying books for class more convenient and cheaper in today’s intense market competition.

Textbook prices have been a common issue among college students and their families due to the necessity of these books for classes. Most students are forced to purchase textbooks they are
unlikely to use in their future because their college and professors require it.

The purchase of textbooks takes a major expense on students and puts extra pressure on them due to the high prices and low quantities. In addition, the weight of physical textbooks makes them inconvenient to bring to schools. Although textbooks are being kept at stable prices by most official stores, there are exceptions.

Recent news has been released regarding the downward trend of textbook prices by showing “the average price of textbooks decreased by over $10 from January 2017 to January 2018,” according to www.campusbooks.com.

Moreover, the competition between bookstores increased as  students seek cheaper book prices. This has led education companies to develop new ways of providing textbooks to students for a cheaper price, such as selling used textbooks or renting them.

The price decreases by half of the original one if the book was used previously. Many colleges also have their own textbook marketplace, where students can sell or exchange their used books for others.

Bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, Inc. offer the option for students to rent textbooks with a reasonable expiration date for returns. According to www.campusbooks.com, “On the Barnes and Noble site, you can purchase a physical copy new for $269.86 or used for $216.44.

There’s also an option that allows you to rent it for 130 days for $119.” Students can save money while avoiding cluttering their homes with physical textbooks after their semesters end.

This method helps students get assignments done and study effectively with enough time and at a more reasonable price. Buying used books or renting them not only saves space and money for students, but also saves physical paper because fewer copies of books need to be printed in the overall production.

Once people know they have more options that they can choose from, they begin to chase higher quality.

Bookstores see what issues college students have regarding textbooks when they rent or buy used books. This can lead to intense market competition from booksellers trying to by satisfy students’ needs regarding textbooks.

Booksellers figure that physical textbooks, whether rental, new or used, are not convenient enough for students to bring to campus. As time goes by, more students are buying electronic textbooks, which are more convenient and cheap.

The key feature of digital textbooks is that students can read them on any devices that connects to the internet. This method achieves the convenience that most students seek when they are looking to satisfy their homework requirements.

Another highlight of e-textbooks is their cheaper price. In today’s world, many cheap digital books can be available through online bookstores, such as Pearson Education Inc.

Pearson, a famous educational publishing and media brands, provides digital textbooks on its website with its own discounts, offering cheaper prices to persuade students to purchase books on the Pearson site.

Every time students have new options for purchasing their school books, both the market and the students benefit. Competition among physical booksellers, online bookstores and those looking to rent and resell books allows for students to seek the greatest knowledge at the cheapest price, while fueling competition among those who want to provide that knowledge.