Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Time for e-Textbooks in Schools?

My sister Mary got some recent sticker shock.  She had to buy high school textbooks for my niece who starts her freshman year this week.  Each required book listed for around $100.  And she needs, like, eight of them.  Eight hundred dollars for books? Jeez, how things have changed.  I remember when my poor mom just about had a heart attack when I told her I needed $100 dollars for my books for my freshman year of college. 

So my sister has been jumping through hoops the last few days, buying used books online, through Amazon.com, neighbors, etc.  She's learned that there is a whole sub-culture of entrepreneurial businesses that does things like rent textbooks, find people used books, sell used books.  Leave it to the private sector to figure out innovative ways because it's certainly not happening in the public sector, and don't even get me started on the property taxes she pays in Chicago, most of which goes to fund their public schools. 

Side note: I occasionally teach online writing classes at a local college here in Phoenix and I see the prices that students are charged for books and, frankly, it makes my stomach turn.  I have to wonder if schools resorted to e-textbooks whether the costs would decrease.  I know that some private colleges have started experimenting with e-textbooks and e-readers.  Maybe it's about time it became more common? 

I have no idea why high school and college textbooks are so freaking expensive but I can guess at some of the reasons.  The fact that these books are required makes it all the more distasteful.

6 comments:

Talli Roland said...

I was just going to say it reminded me of university textbooks! The cost of those is out of control. I'm shocked that high school books cost this much!

Talina Perkins said...

I have been out of the loop for so long I have no idea what text books are costing. I pay close to eight hundred dollars per child for homeschooling which included the full years tuition, books,and the access to video streaming(use to be dvd). Is this to much? Is it better priced than public school in the states?

Liz Fichera said...

Talli, It's pretty shocking, believe me. And it only goes up.

Liz Fichera said...

Talina, I'd say you're getting a bargain, in comparison. My sister will pay at least that for books. That doesn't include all the special fees, gym fees, team fees. School has become one big fee.

THE OLD GEEZER said...

Yikes!! You almost need to take out a loan on your house to buy school books nowadays. Maybe things will get better someday.

Liz Fichera said...

TOG, yes, a loan, or you have to get real resourceful and discover all the underground alternatives--e.g. places that "rent" textbooks, used textbooks, neighbors, etc.