Books

The average college student spends around $1,200 on textbooks per year, according to the College Board. 

I tend to not look at the negatives of my college experience, but one comes to mind and sticks out like a sore thumb. What is my complaint you ask? Everything to do with college textbooks.

I have good reason to complain. According to CBS News, the average cost of college textbooks over the past 10 years rose four times faster than the rate of inflation, and 186% in an eight-year span (1998-2006).

Everything about college textbooks suck. They are expensive and are often unnecessary. I only used one college textbook for every three I bought.

I have wasted at least $2,000 in my college career on unused college textbooks. For comparison, the average college student spends $1,200 on college textbooks used and unused a year, according to the College Board.

I know textbooks can’t be included with tuition because of copyright laws, but I believe there should be a law permitting an exception. According to Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, college students spend an average of $153 per course.

Textbooks were created to summarize the course’s lessons and create tests based on those lessons. But if you don’t use it, what’s the point? There is nothing I hate more than a teacher listing a textbook in a syllabus, then proceeding to never use it.

Textbooks are often large, heavy and take up space in your backpack and in your room. I would bet a good percentage of college students have more textbooks than books for pleasure.

I would often buy a textbook instead of renting because I thought it was a pain to mail a textbook back and forth via Amazon. Sometimes that wasn’t even an option. All textbooks don’t come from Amazon or Kindle, so sometimes I’m forced to buy the textbook.

One of my most memorable moments in college was being a freshman and rushing to the bookstore to see if my textbook was still on the shelf. It was sold out, so I had to buy one online. I was so stressed out at the time. Would my version of the textbook be the right one? Is this a common occurrence for college students?

It turns out we would never use that textbook in the course. It cost me $101 for unnecessary stress and wasted shelf space. But that experience taught me a valuable lesson.

Textbooks suck.

As ice hockey player Hilary Knight once said, “The real answers aren't in textbooks; they can be found through experiences.”