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THE COST OF COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS

This think-pair-share exercise focuses on the publishing and sales of college and university textbooks.

  • Think. On your own, write down: How much money you spent this semester on textbooks and the cost of each book. How much money you got back if you returned any books last semester? What your choices are for purchasing textbooks?
  • Pair. With friends or classmates, discuss your observations, and consider these questions: Which types of books seem most expensive? Why do they cost so much? What do you typically do with textbooks at the end of a semester—keep them or sell them—and why? Who do you think is responsible for pricing books? Who do you think reaps the most profit from textbooks?

  • Share. Consider the college textbook publishing business. If a particular book is more expensive than others, are you more or less likely to buy it? Should professors tie lectures closely to the texts, or should the required reading be done independently by the student? What are some of the factors in the production and distribution of textbooks that account for their cost? Do students prefer digital or paper textbooks? Why? (You might want to refer to National Association of College Stores research, which shows student preferences for print textbooks dropping from approximately 75 percent in 2010 and 2011 to only 40 percent in 2015. See http://www.nacs.org/research/studentwatchfindings.aspx.)

The total paper should be 1 page single spaced not including your heading and work cited. You are expected to have 2 sources in APA format. (Please see bibme.org for formatting).

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