Why Textbooks Cost So Much Money

“It’s worth taking a moment here to understand the used-book market. For most of the past few decades it has actually been comprised of two very different markets. About two-thirds of it was the thriving and efficient textbook business that centered around college campuses…

“Used textbooks are a model of an efficient market–every year millions of students buy and then resell expensive volumes they need only for a single semester. The set of books with resale value is determined by the published curriculum of core classes; the price is set by what competition there is between campus bookstores; and the supply is replenished twice a year.

“Textbook publishers don’t mind this very much because it means they can actually charge more for new copies, since the buyers know they have a predictable resale value. Indeed, the economic model at work here is more like a rent than a purchase. Typically, stores buy books for 50 percent of the cover price and then resell them for 75 percent. Depending on whether the student is buying new or used, that ‘rental fee’ is between half and quarter of the list price of the book. This arrangement works so well that the used-textbook market in the United States is now a $1.7 billion enterprise, accounting for 16 percent of all college store sales.” (p. 86)


One response to “Why Textbooks Cost So Much Money

  1. Thanks for your information. I will keep this information. But I buy all my textbooks from online bookstore CocoMartini.com

    All the textbooks are brand new textbook.

    Wish useful for you.


    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

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