One semester when I had two kids in college at the same time. It's worse now, no doubt. One thing I admire about Western Governors University is their flat textbook fee that leverages electronic texts. I sometimes wonder if we could give students an unlimited Kindle subscription for textbooks. From NBCnews.com.
College Textbook Prices Have Risen 1,041 Percent Since 1977
Students hitting the college bookstore this fall will get a stark lesson in economics before they've cracked open their first chapter. Textbook prices are soaring. Some experts say it's because they're sold like drugs.
According to NBC's review of Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, textbook prices have risen over three times the rate of inflation from January 1977 to June 2015, a 1,041 percent increase.
"They've been able to keep raising prices because students are 'captive consumers.' They have to buy whatever books they're assigned," said Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
In some ways, this is similar to a pharmaceutical sales model where the publishers spend their time wooing the decision makers to adopt their product. In this case, it's professors instead of doctors.
"Professors are not price-sensitive and they then assign and students have no say," said Ariel Diaz, CEO of Boundless, a free and low-cost textbook publisher.
Unlike drugs, there's no "textbook insurance" to cover the out of pocket costs.
Publishers and college bookstores disagree with this diagnosis.