The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Good education worth high textbook prices

By Tina Parsons

Many factors can contribute to the high costs of textbooks. Years of extensive research, the collaboration efforts of many individuals and the intellectual investment from authors, experts, editors, researchers, reviewers and designers justify the pricing.

Experts in any given field are subject to years of costly education. Should these professionals decide to put their expertise forward in print and publish a textbook, they deserve to be compensated.

According to Susan Aspey, director of communications for Pearson Publishing, publishers are investing in innovative, integrated education solutions that increase learning and improve student success.

“For example, our MyLabs learning solutions, such as MyMathLab and MathXL, have helped millions of once-struggling students to achieve success at college-level math,” Aspey said.

Learning aids such as these cost time and money to develop. Because textbooks are limited in terms of scope and who uses them, the costs will accordingly and reasonably be placed on the user. However, new advances have made cutting costs for students readily available.

Pearson, for example, offers e-textbooks that are available at 50 percent off the print text price, as well as a range of course material options, such as three-hole punch editions, black-and-white books and custom texts, all designed to keep costs in line without shortchanging the author or publisher.

“The cost of textbooks is originated from the publisher,” said Shane Girton, associate director at the University Campus Store. “Bottom line, profit the store makes from the sale of textbooks is 4 percent that goes back to the university bond program.”

The U campus store has a markup of about 25 percent more than the publishers’ cost. The remaining 21 percent after the university bond program is used to pay its rent, loans and employees, as well as other operating costs.

This is a small price to pay, considering the university must pay its bonds. A 4 percent profit doesn’t qualify as greed.

In fact, the U is below the industry average on textbook price markups by approximately 2 percent. The store’s profit margin is also lower than the industry average by 2.3 percent, Girton said. This shows that the U campus store is doing what it can to provide quality education materials at the best possible prices.

Girton recommended buying used books and utilizing e-textbooks as a means to save money. He explained that used textbooks can save students up to 25 percent of the new cost, and e-textbooks can save students 40 to 50 percent. Many instructors on campus use custom publishing for their packets, and this saves students more than 80 percent on course materials, Girton said.

Instead of complaining about how much books are, look at everything you get out of them. Education would not be effective without these texts and would be even less effective if quality research, knowledge and expertise were sacrificed because of pricing issues.
We all have come to the U to get a quality education with the reasonable expectation that we can make an income above and beyond what we can without a degree. Authors and experts of textbooks should have this same expectation when they put their years of experience and knowledge to work in writing a textbook.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *