Are Textbooks Worth the Cost?

DUBUQUE– When it comes to buying textbooks, students have plenty of options. But whether they’re renting or buying, the price of books adds up pretty quickly. But are the books worth the price students are paying? It depends who you ask.

Alex Kruse is a junior at Loras College. Kruse says that he finds value in the books he buys for his courses.

“I use my textbooks quite often. Not just in the class that I’m using them for and the unit, but in future courses,” said Kruse. “Sometimes I’ll refer to certain books in essays that I write or in projects that I’m working on on my own.”

Though Kruse makes good use of his books, not all students see the value. In a recent survey, more than 71% of students said that they see a gap between the value and price of their textbooks.*

Dr. Erin VanLaningham is a professor at Loras. She is sympathetic to her student’s concerns with textbook prices, but she understands the reasons for the intimidating price tag.

“The thing that people don’t realize about those kinds of textbooks though is the amount of labor that goes into actually creating the text,” she explained. “There are multiple faculty probably writing it, researching it, editing it.”

The end result of that process can be expensive.

In a survery of Loras students, 34% that they spent over $200 on textbooks for this semester. Another 40% said that they spent more than $100 on a single book.

Despite these numbers, textbooks are only as valuable as the students make them.

“I would suggest that you can get value out of them,” commented VanLaningham. “It may not be made as explicit in some classes as in others.”

*Taken from a survey of 100 Loras students

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