Expensive textbooks have students trying other options

Post-secondary student groups say the rising cost of textbooks is putting a financial strain on students.

Books for post-secondary education can cost hundreds of dollars per semester

Post-secondary student groups say the rising cost of textbooks is putting a financial strain on students.

Course materials can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars every semester.

That’s why many students are trying out a 21st century alternative – e-books.

They’re lighter and cheaper, but the students don’t get to keep the digital content indefinitely.

That can be a major drawback, said Jessica McCormick, deputy chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students.

“Having this expiry date on it means that if a student has taken a program … and maybe they want to go back and refer to something they learned during the course of their studies, they're unable to do that,” she said.

It also means the students don’t have books to sell to recoup costs.

Gerry Cross, president of the Faculty Association at Mount Royal University, said professors are trying to find ways to reduce costs for students, such as compiling tailored packages of course materials.

“You can choose the chapters from the textbook or even chapters from several textbooks and also put your own material in and that can reduce the cost of the textbook by up to 50 per cent,” he said.

The students union at the U of C said it's also working with professors to try to find less expensive options for students.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.