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Davis, California

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Editorial: Price of knowledge

With $500 you can get pretty far. Groceries for three months. A flight to Hawaii for spring break. Two new shitty bikes. An iPad.
But instead, many students dropped that much at the beginning of the quarter on something much less exciting. Textbooks.

With new classes comes the necessity of purchasing new textbooks, which have become outrageously expensive, adding insult to injury on top of already expensive tuition.

The fact that textbooks have become so expensive doesn’t seem to have any reasonable backing (paper doesn’t cost that much). The idea that people should be charged for knowledge is equally as outrageous as the prices of these books. More textbooks and readings should be open source, and academics should strive to share information, not make money off of it.

Luckily, some professors get it. As textbook prices increase, more and more professors seem to be posting readings online instead of requiring a textbook. Instead of purchasing something mediocre that only covers part of the material the class covers, students can read more specific readings online while simultaneously saving hundreds of dollars. Win-win.

For those who still have to purchase a book for a class and are frustrated by the school’s buyback program (“I bought this textbook three months ago. I’m sure you can buy it back from me, I don’t care that there is a new edition”), they should consider selling their books on Amazon Student or Ebay. Someone, somewhere, wants your book.

Many of us would be willing to pay a premium for these textbooks if we were promised a competitive buyback rate. It’s unfair to charge us so much for something that becomes merely an expensive paperweight with no value when a new edition is released.

But in the meantime, we appreciate the professors who are giving us a break.


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