Making the Essential Accessible: The Cost of College Textbooks

Related page: Open Educational Resources

Shasta College Textbook Committee

Textbook Assistance and Low Cost Alternatives: At Shasta College

  • Textbook Committee
  • Need Books (from Shasta College Financial Aid)
  • EOPS Lending Library. Limited selection and supply of textbooks available to qualified EOPS students.
  • Shasta College Student Senate also maintains a small textbook lending library.
  • Textbook rental/sales aggregators CheapestTextbooks and BigWords.

The Challenge

  • Make Textbooks Affordable** (2008).
    Website for a national student campaign to reduce college textbook costs. Features a discussion of why textbooks are expensive
    (such as new editions and supplementary material), suggestions for finding cheaper books and saving money (such as buying or
    renting online), reports on topics such as publishers' pricing tactics, and links to news about legislative activity. A joint campaign of
    various student organizations throughout the U.S.
  • Study on the Affordability of Textbooks (2007). "Turn the Page: Making College Textbooks More Affordable." Topics discussed include strengthening the market for used textbooks, increasing library resources, adopting alternatives that lower prices (such as buying consortiums), implementing textbook rental programs, improving financial aid, and utilizing 21st century technology (such as online and electronic textbooks). From the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, U.S. Department of Education.
  • //College Textbooks: Enhanced Offerings Appear to Drive Recent Price Increases.**// (2005). This report considers the factors that have contributed to rapid increases in the cost of college text. These changes (such as CD-ROMs and other instructional supplements). The report notes that "in the last two decades, college textbook prices have increased at twice the rate of inflation but have followed close behind tuition increases." Includes a summary and the full text, with diagrams and charts.
  • Used Textbook Association(2008).Website for a non-profit organization. The Association was founded in 2006 by a group of textbook wholesalers who saw a need to take action on industry approaches and speak on behalf of the industry.
  • College Textbook Transparency Act (California Assembly Bill No. 1548).
  • H.R. 3512: College Textbook Affordability and Transparency Act of 2007
  • United States Government Accountability Office (2005).

Tracking Legislation

  • Assembly Bill 386
  • Senate Bill 216
  • Senate Bill 386
  • Senate Bill 388


Alternatives: Online Textbooks

Alternatives: Textbook Rentals

The Shasta College Library offers a variety of materials to assist you with your research and course preparation, including books, e-books, periodicals, DVDs, videos, and more. The resources below are just a sample of what is available to you through your library, both in hard copy and online 24/7. And when in doubt, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian:
  • Walk-in and phone 530.242.7865 or 530.242.2347, when the Library is open
  • Real time Chat when the Library is open or Email a librarian (turn around time 24 hours)

The Shasta College Library's Textbook Acquisition Policy

Journals in the Library's print collection (partial list only)

  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Community College Journal
  • Computers in Libraries
  • T.H.E. Journal (Technical Horizons in Education)

Online Resources (available 24/7)

The library has a vast collection of materials available to you online, including the full-text of electronic books, available through the library catalog, and the full-text of hundreds of articles in magazines and journals, available through the library's extensive collection of databases. Below is a sample of some of these resources:

Books in electronic format (partial list only) from e Book Collection EBSCO :


Databases:

The library subscribes to dozens of online databases, most of which offer full-text access to magazines and journals, with both current and historical holdings

EBSCO family of Databases
  • Provides access to current events, research, and Government resources
  • Databases may be searched individually or simultaneously
  • Many publications are available in full text
  • EBSCO's Academic Search Premier - This academic, multidisciplinary database covers a variety of subjects in over 4,000 academic publications, including many in full-text from 1975-present. Sample of articles from EBSCO's Academic Search Premierdatabase (partial list only):
    • Bell, J., & Badolato, V. (2008, February). Textbook turmoil. State Legislatures, 34(2), 26-29. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • How can you keep the price of textbooks down? (2008, March 21). Chronicle of Higher Education, Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • Lesko, P. (2008, March 7). The price and quality of textbooks. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(26), A35-A35. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • Pekow, C. (2006, October 9). Skyrocketing textbook costs get an ear in Washington. Community College Week, 19(4), 3-9. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • Pekow, C. (2007, June 18). Technology touted as solution to soaring textbook costs. Community College Week, 19(21), 12-12. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • Schrock, J. (2008, March 7). The price and quality of textbooks. Chronicle of Higher Education, 54(26), A35-A35. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier database.
    • Smith, L. (2007, July 20). Textbook publishers tested on Capitol Hill. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(46), A21-A21. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from Academic Search Premier.
    • Young, J.R. (2008, July 5). Textbook Piracy Grows Online, Prompting a Counterattack from Publishers. Chronicle of Higher Education. Available January, 2009, from Academic Search Premier.

Proquest National Newspapers
  • Provides access to five national newspapers (Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post)
  • Great for current information
  • Four of the newspapers are available full text for about the past ten years. The New York Times is available back to 1851!
  • Sample of articles from Proquest National Newspapers:
    • Chaker, A.M. (2006, September 28). Efforts mount to cut costs of textbooks; As prices rise at twice the rate of inflation, states pass laws to encourage cheaper alternatives. Wall Street Journal, p. D.1. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
    • Gordon, L. (2007, September 24). Bills aim at pricey college textbooks; Two measures on the governor's desk seek to control costs by helping faculty obtain data on the extent of revisions. Los Angeles Times,p. B.1. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
    • The Market has no mercy for textbook exploitation. (2006, October 6). Wall Street Journal, p. A.15. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
    • Owuor, E. (2006, October 12). Online college texts are free, but not free from ads. The Christian Science Monitor, p. 15. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
    • Required Reading; Lowering a hidden cost of higher education: textbooks. (2008, February 7). The Washington Post,p. A.20. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.
    • The Rising cost of college textbooks. (2006, November 12). Los Angeles Times,p. M.5. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from ProQuest National Newspapers.


[updated css 10/18/11]