Would You Pay $200 for a Book? I Did.

college textbook prices

And that’s not the kicker…

When you have a child, you spend a lot of time theorizing about how to pay for college…and the next thing you know, applications are going out, and your theories get put to the test!

This year, my oldest son, Denver, started college. Of course, we’re beaming with pride. It’s a great feeling to see your once-small baby grow up and take his first steps toward his future as an adult. It’s absolutely one of the highlights of my life as a parent, and I couldn’t be happier.

Lucky for us, our bright and sweet young man chose to attend a local college, meaning we can save a bundle on those meal and dorm fees. Not to mention saving a bundle on my anxiety! (Fewer worries about if he’s eating, where’s he’s sleeping, what he’s doing….)

And thank the heavens he did- what I was not expecting was the cost of textbooks these days. Sure, I had heard horror stories of books costing well over two hundred dollars, but surely, there had to be a reason. After all, it’s 2017. Maybe the book came with its own Kindle reader. Or maybe these modern books were leather bound, with custom engraving featuring Denver’s own monogram.

So, when Denver let me know that his most expensive book was $183.00, I was prepared. At a price like that, I was certain it would be a lovely book. Maybe even one to keep around and read time and time again, right?

WRONG. I could not have been more wrong. Because what Denver and I received for our one hundred and eighty-three American dollars was…

A four-inch thick stack of printed, three-hole-punched paper. Just the pages. The implication, I gathered, was that we provide our own binding for the book via a large three-ring binder. So, all in all Denver’s most expensive book was $183 dollars, plus another $8 for a three-ring binder. I felt downright tricked! I guess I learned my lesson.

Apparently, this is only news to me.  CollegeBoard reports that students budgeting for college can expect to pay at least $1200 in textbooks alone. For those that attend community college, this can be up to 40% of the cost! Maybe I’ve been out of school for too long, but that math makes my head spin. $1200? For books?  (Unless you’re a philosophy major, where you might just spend $1450 for one textbook!)

college textbook prices

Denver seems to have this whole higher learning thing figured out. His response when I complained about the unbound book debacle? “Welcome to college, Mom.”

Happy Monday,