Why do books cost so much money?

So I started book shopping for next semester but have yet to buy any because I am poor and I want them shipped to school, not my house. BUT WHY ARE THEY SO EXPENSIVE?! Even renting a book for four(ish) months can be up to $80 or$90! That’s ridiculous, I shouldn’t have to pay almost half of a paycheck for books! It’s actually insane. It’s one of those things where companies know they can make money off of a product because they are required for my education, I can’t just choose not to get them.  Business taking money from people who haven’t the time to make proper money just isn’t right if you ask me. Like, I’m sorry but there are a lot of expenses that I’d rather pay for… Like Netflix.  I understand that I chose to get a college education, but that alone can costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

I don’t think it’s right for a company to ask me to pay 50 dollars to borrow a book, that’s why we have libraries, but of course they don’t carry text books that we can check out for more than what, a week or so at a time so you have to rent the book. It’s ridiculous. Stuff like this should be illegal, it would be one thing if college tuition was free, but in America it’s not, it’s really expensive. I know, I know it’s something everyone has to do, but it shouldn’t be. I’m not complaining about the prices for myself, or even my generation but all previous generations who had to walk into a book store, or search countless websites trying to find the best deals, this is a broken system and it needs to be fixed. 

So being curious by nature I decided to Google the profit margin on textbooks and here’s the breakdown from a PDF file from the National Association of College stores (the link if you’re interested: http://www.bookstore.umaine.edu/webitemimages/411/Images/nacs%20textbook%20dollar.pdf).  The website looks at it all from a dollar perspective but I’m going to look at it in percents, either way it all adds up to 100 (kinda, I’m not good at explaining math, okay?).

  • 32.1% to Publisher’s paper, printing, and editorial costs- which makes sense, you have to pay off the money it cost to make the book, they can’t lose money on a sale, but according to this if you were able, which to my knowledge you aren’t, to walk to a publishing office and buy a copy of the book for 32.1% of what you pay for it they would neither lose or gain money from that sale.
  • 11.6% to the author- again this makes sense because someone is putting their time in effort into a product and they need to make a living so yes, we should pay them for something that does take a lot of time and effort I’m sure.
  • 9.9% to publisher’s general and administrative- which seems like taxes and stuff that the publishers have to pay, but I’m not really sure that should be taken in our bill. We have to pay taxes too, so why should we have to pay theirs? 
  • 15.3% to publisher’s marketing costs- why are they marketing? We need the books so we’re going to buy them whether or not they advertise. That’s a fee that needs to leave.
  • 7% to publisher’s income- an understandable fee because publishing is their job and they have to do it, and they need to make money off of it, so yes they deserve an income.
  • 10.8% to college store personnel- okay I understand that they need to be paid, but what else does the college store sell? Over priced sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, sweatpants, sweaters, shorts, tank tops, school supplies, anything you might need they sell and I’m sure they are making plenty of profit off of all of that stuff as well, so I’m not sure if they need to be making such a large profit off of the books alone.
  • 1.7% to freight expense- which makes perfect sense, gas is a lot not matter what kind of transportation is used and it needs to be taken care of.
  • 7.2% to college store expenses- umm excuse me? I pay how much to go to a school and they use the cost of books and justify saying that’s how they pay for the electric/heat/bills? No, I don’t think so, there are plenty of other places that I’m sure they use the money from to pay for that sort of thing.
  • 4.4% to college store income- okay I understand for something to be successful it has to make money, so they should make money and I guess this is a reasonable amount, but what are they doing with this money if it’s not paying workers, taxes, or expenses? Who’s getting it, oh the college, I already gives thousands and thousands of dollars a year to.

So yeah after looking at this little break down of book expenses I’m sure they don’t need to be as expensive as they are. If you are looking for some sights to get books off of, I suggest chegg.com and half.com, both have really good deals on used books to rent and buy. It’s always so much better than trying to find them at the bookstore and paying hundreds of dollars. Anyway that’s about it for this post, my mind hurts a little from reading number so I’m off to bed. Thanks for reading!

XOXO

Mary

Answers:

January 4: The tomato.

January 5:  Liberia.

Question:

January 6:  What two-time Oscar-winning best actor challenged Paul McCartney to write a song on the spot- and lost?

 

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8 thoughts on “Why do books cost so much money?

  1. from campus with love January 13, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    I totally agree with your post!
    I wrote something similar about how to find cheaper options if you’re looking for some ideas.
    http://wp.me/p4bYfy-1r
    Good Luck! :)
    I also loved reading some of your posts seeing that we’re both college freshmen!
    -Alyssa

    • Mary January 27, 2014 / 9:00 pm

      That sounds awesome! I’ll have to check that out next semester, thanks!

    • Mary January 27, 2014 / 9:01 pm

      So I just gave you my “I have no clue who you are” response and then I realized I do! Oh my word! I’m not with it. Sorry and I miss you <3

      • Amanda February 1, 2014 / 2:07 am

        Haha that’s alright, I still love you!! :)

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