Study shows students saved $40.1M on textbooks since 2006

The Arizona Board of Regents released a fiscal study Monday showcasing how cost-saving measures implemented in 2006 have saved Arizona students $40.1 million on textbooks over the past five years.

ASU students have saved $23 million since 2006, including $1.3 million in fall 2011, according to Monday’s news release.

ABOR spokeswoman Katie Paquet said the university system provides an annual update to ABOR regarding textbook cost-saving measures.

“We just happened to be at a point where we had a five-year snapshot and realized it was a significant amount of money and wanted to bring attention to that,” Paquet said.

Following a cooperative effort between university officials and students to evaluate the rising cost of textbooks in 2006, ABOR implemented several measures to bring these costs down.

Efforts included creating buyback incentives, encouraging the use of e-books, expanding textbook rental programs, establishing uniform deadlines for faculty textbook orders, implementing procedures to increase on-time book orders and increasing communication in the university community, according to the news release.

Psychology sophomore Liam Hawley said he has not noticed any savings on his textbooks.

“I’ve tried to rent, but in the end that only saves you a little bit in the long run,” he said.

Hawley said he spends about $350 on textbooks per semester. He said there should be an easier way for students to hand down books and editions should not be changed as often.

Student Regent and Russian senior Tyler Bowyer said the best way for students to save money on textbooks is to switch to electronic books.

“The future is in e-books,” Bowyer said. “The iPad and things like that are going to be the wave of the future. Hard texts are almost three times as expensive as what you can buy right now.”

Bowyer said the greatest initiative ABOR implemented was encouraging the use of e-books.

“Its hard enough for kids to pay the rent, pay for food, their car (and the) rise in gas prices,” Bowyer said. “I’ve seen so many struggle when paying for overly priced textbooks. Anything they can do to see that textbooks are delivered in a cheaper way is a top priority for the Board and the university system.”

Political science and Spanish junior Victor Costa also said he has not seen a decrease in the cost of his textbooks.

He said it “seems weird” that prices of books at the campus bookstore cost twice as much as on websites such as Amazon.

“They have the same publisher and everything,” Costa said. “Why go to the bookstore when you can go online and get it for half the price?”

Reach the reporter at kmmandev@asu.edu

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