Pursuing cheaper textbooks

College is one of the biggest expenses that one will pay in their lifetime, and that is without the added costs of required textbooks. Why these books are so expensive is something students have always asked.

Nicole Glenn, a junior at EMU majoring in early childhood education and elementary education, shared her feelings about the prices: “I never buy the books for that reason. Rent over buying any day, or Chegg or Amazon.”

Many students encounter the same situation as Glenn, but it is not the university’s fault. The publishing companies take the blame. For EMU students, you can view the required material first on the course page before deciding to take the class. The prices very rarely will be a happy situation.

In an article from U.S. PIRG Education Fund & The Student, PIRGS estimates that an average of $1,200 is spent on books per year. That price is outrageous and hard for many students to afford on top of tuition costs.

Professors are beginning to realize this, and some are now looking for more affordable and different options for texts. Professor Margrit Zinggeler of the German department is one such professor, who has begun to look into new publishing venues for her academic works.

She wanted to find something that would be “more easily available to the students.” Luckily, she found e-publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing.

Her latest published work “Phonogrimm: German Phonetics through the Magic of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale,” has been published through KDP. As the author, she purchased the ISBN number of the book, giving her the copyrights, and the ability to set the selling price, which she made very affordable for her students.

The KDP publishing process is faster, with everything right at the professor’s fingertips. This also opens up more collaboration opportunities and helps ease the burden of cost for the students. The editing and review process is just as rigorous and legitimate as the traditional methods.

These newer venues have the potential to, as Professor Zinggeler said, “be the future of affordable texts.” This is of great interest to students trying to save money and to professors trying to find easier and newer ways to get their published works out there.

The issues of text books and these outrageous prices are complex, with many intricate details and facts. It is a still an evolving situation. This new approach to the textbook issue may be the beginning of a better future system for both students and professors.


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