If You Think Custom Textbooks Are Good For Students, Think Again
by Jed Davis
Textbooks costs, which have far outpaced the cost of inflation in the previous decade, are a longstanding problem among college students. The textbook industry has developed increasingly sophisticated ways to extract profit from their products. The result is a new problem for students, who are becoming more incensed due to the increased “customization” of textbooks that are practically impossible to rent or resell.
Some professors are requiring that students use custom textbooks put together by the professor themselves. Well-known textbook publishers are allowing professors the option to select various chapters from a larger textbook. Those books are then published for that individual professor and class. These tailored books can typically only be bought through the campus bookstore, unless specially ordered by local textbook stores.
Students cannot rent them through commonly used online textbook rental companies, such as Chegg.com, or local textbook stores. Although the printed copies make selling and renting books a problem, some companies that publish custom books offer online editions, which are sometimes cheaper.
Because the books are unique to the class and professor, customized books are nearly impossible to rent or resell.
“I don’t like it at all,” Tracy Namadim, sophomore international business
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