Doing homework on textbooks could save students money, but not a - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Doing homework on textbooks could save students money, but not a lot

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

College students and parents alike said they’re getting sticker shock when it comes to textbooks for college.

They said some books can cost $200 to $300 for one semester alone.

There are ways, however, to save money if students do their research.

Dan Soifer said he’s starting classes at the University of Connecticut’s Storrs campus this week.

"You work all summer and find out it will cost $500 a semester,” he told Eyewitness News.

"I know he has a few books to buy,” said Louise Soifer, Dan’s mother. “It’s a bit concerning so I have to think about it was well. And its only one semester.”

One of his books was $230. If he rented it, he would have saved only $24.

Most books can be rented, according to book store employees.

"It goes back to the development costs,” said William Simpson, CEO of the UConn Co-op. “Publishers incur a fair of money to develop a college level textbook."

Simpson said text books are more specialized than general reading books and printing can be limited.

These days, there are several options.

A new book that costs $99 can be bought used for $75. A new version can also be rented, but it costs about the same as buying a used one.

Rentals can be re-sold.

Students said the renting used books is the cheapest upfront option.

Then, there are e-books. E-books, however, can be limited and not always available.

"In many cases e-books are licensed rather than purchased,” Simpson said. “So you only have access to it for a certain period of time."

Simpson said not all books are created equal when it comes to price.

For English majors, many books come in paperback and are a lot cheaper. The most expensive are science and math textbooks.

"I did buy this one book because it’s my major, animal science,” said Kaitlyn Sidman, a UConn student.

Sidman said she hopes she can re-sell the book, but there are no guarantees.

"Last year I got one for biology it was $300 and I am still trying to return it because I don't need it anymore,” she said.

If students can re-sell their books, new ones have a better resale value at about 50 percent of the cost.

Still, students and parents agree that when it comes to buying textbooks, doing the homework helps.

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