I know I am not the first to realize this, and that this is certainly not a groundbreaking revelation, but textbook prices are absolutely outrageous. So outrageous that I am going to write a column that has been written a thousand other times, even though nothing will change by the end of it.
As I was walking out of Barnes and Noble, seething, 200 dollars poorer and only one book in hand, I vowed that my frustration would not go unheard. I bought one book, one Italian book, in which there are only 387 pages — for 200 dollars. Let me tell you what books have more pages than this one Italian book: more than half of the Harry Potter series, most versions of Brontë’s Jane Eyre and the Bible. All of which are quite literally a fraction of the price of my textbook. And I think we can all agree that one can learn a lot more from the Harry Potter series than this “Ponti Italiano Terzo Milennio” book.
I stomped down the steps of the bookstore and sulked over to my roommate’s car, where she asked me why I was so upset. So I let out my frustration in a quite loud and very rude tirade against the capitalization of college education and big business America. Bless her soul, I didn’t run out of steam for a good 20 minutes.
But, seriously, the material production of this book probably cost less than five dollars, and yes, I know that we must factor in the brainpower and time it took to actually procure the information for its contents, but let’s get real. Did every person who worked on this book put 200 dollars worth of effort into the information they were relaying? I don’t think so.
I also understand how microeconomics works. I’m in the class now (that textbook wasn’t cheap either), and I recognize that supply and demand yield a specific price, etc., etc. But how in the world did that price ever become so high, to the point that it could put a student in debt for something they will only use for three months?
Education is not about learning and becoming a more intelligent individual anymore; it’s about forking over unnecessary amounts of money for things that should be provided within the boundaries of a student’s education. Textbooks, housing, meal plans, tuition and so on are sending the next generation of America into unrecoverable debt that leaves them hopeless and financially crippled.
I’m not saying I have the answers to this issue, but I am saying that these are serious problems with the current system. And yes, this column may be a little more emphatic and aggressive than how I actually feel, since I did write it while pretty fired up, but there is truth behind my aggravation. I know I am not the only one upset by ridiculous prices attached to everything we need in college, so maybe it’s time we do something about it.
Email Lexi Godfrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.