Brandon Cortés – General Reporter
Textbooks are often the most important school material for university students. However, doubt and uncertainty are present about whether, in this digital age, they are still useful.
Math major Jay Chapa, a junior, understands perfectly why some students think textbooks may no longer be as necessary.
“I understand why some students don’t like using textbooks or find them unnecessary. However, I believe that they are still necessary in some majors, like math, for example,” said Chapa.
Chapa emphasizes that despite the ongoing prevalence of digitization, he firmly believes that physical textbooks will endure. In his view, the tangible nature of traditional textbooks provides a unique and irreplaceable value that goes beyond the digital realm.
“I’m very old school when it comes to school materials and the way I take notes on lectures. I still use my pencil and notebook to take notes,” says Chapaid
Chapa contends that the tactile experience of flipping through pages, the absence of screen-related distractions, and the reliability of having a physical reference contribute to the enduring significance of printed educational materials.
Despite the advancements in technology, he remains convinced that the coexistence of physical and digital formats is essential to cater to diverse learning preferences and ensure the accessibility of educational content for all.
However, the price of the books is something that is still somewhat surprising. According to a study carried out by Education Data, eBooks are 31.9% less expensive than physical books, but students spend approximately $1,000 annually on textbooks.
During the 2021-2022 academic year, the typical university student found themselves allocating an annual budget ranging from $628 to $1,200 for books and supplies. Within this budget, hard copy books commanded a considerable portion, reaching potential costs of up to $400, with an average falling between $100 and $150. Compounding this financial challenge is the steady annual increase in textbook prices, rising by an average of 6% and doubling approximately every 11 years.
Students Da’Jaun Banks and Bryan Barnes point out the issue of high textbook costs, expressing a widely held concern among their peers. They argue that the current pricing structure creates a financial burden for students and may hinder access to essential learning materials.
Banks and Barnes emphasize the importance of affordable textbooks in promoting equitable access to education, regardless of economic backgrounds. They advocate for a more cost-effective approach to textbook pricing, highlighting the practical necessity of making education financially accessible for all students.
“We are already paying enough for our tuition, for the meal plans, for dorms, classes, summer classes, and much more to just keep paying more for a textbook you are not even going to use more than two times in your life,” said Banks.
“It’s not fair that you have to pay more than $100 for a textbook for an elective class that you will never remember in your life once you graduate. Yes, you can rent the book, but it still costs money to rent it,” said Barnes.