Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

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The Complicated and Expensive World of Textbooks

Textbook+prices+are+higher+than+ever.+Students+are+turning+to+places+like+Amazon+to+buy+their+textbooks+instead.
Chris Reed
Textbook prices are higher than ever. Students are turning to places like Amazon to buy their textbooks instead.

Buying books and textbooks as a college student has always been challenging, but the textbook market has become even harder for students to navigate in recent years. More and more college students are getting frustrated by prices and are looking for more alternative ways to obtain their required reading materials.

Here at Winona State University, we are encouraged to get all our materials from the bookstore on campus. This creates issues, however, and may be part of why more and more students are looking elsewhere for their books and textbooks.

In a survey conducted across multiple classes with seventeen responses, ninety-five percent of students were required to get a book or textbook for three or more of their classes, with half of them being required to get more than one textbook for two or more classes. While fourteen students did go to the bookstore on campus, it seems the majority of them are going there as a last resort, with thirteen students also checking Amazon and other online resources.

An employee at the bookstore who wishes to remain anonymous gave their thoughts on the matter. When asked which subjects tend to require more expensive books, they said that while English classes tend to require a good amount of literature, because they are usually just regular books, students in those classes can usually get away with only spending around fifty dollars. Where things start to get pricey, they said, is on the more medical side of things.

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“But when you get into medical students, especially nursing students, they require two or three textbooks and they’re all like a hundred sixty dollars,” the bookstore employee said. “I would say about a hundred and fifty to a hundred and sixty dollars, but it could go anywhere from three hundred dollars; I’ve even seen some five hundred dollar checkouts,” they said when asked about what the average student spends per semester when buying books at the bookstore.

In addition to pricing, the availability of books is also an issue for college students, including students at Winona State. Whether it’s the bookstore or Barnes and Noble themselves, oftentimes the amount of any given book or textbook that is ordered is less than what is requested by professors. This can be for several reasons, whether because the bookstore expects some students to buy their books elsewhere, because they don’t want to end up with extra, unneeded books or because of issues with the publishers themselves. All of these reasons seem to be putting money before the students, making their college expenses even higher than necessary.

While not every professor is understanding about textbook prices, certain professors do what they can to make the textbook-buying experience easier for students.

“I believe as instructors we have to understand our students, and so whenever I adopt a book, price is one of the factors I consider,” said Dr. Krishna Roka, who is a sociology professor here at Winona State, when asked about this topic. He also explained that he does his best to find books and textbooks for under twenty dollars, with the most expensive one in any of his classes being forty dollars, with a cheaper ebook option also available.

The textbook market is everchanging, and now it has shifted more and more to online sites such as Amazon and Ebay as students try to avoid the rising prices. While college students still use the on-campus bookstore, it has become a last resort for more and more students. Buying textbooks is so different from how it was twenty years ago, when everything was a hard copy, so imagine what it will be like twenty years from now.

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About the Contributors
Lexy Koenig, Features Reporter
Lexy Koenig (she/her/hers) is a features writer for The Winonan who started this semester. Lexy is a first-year at Winona State who is majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology. Besides working for The Winonan, Lexy likes playing video games such as Pokemon, Minecraft, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, and Undertale, among others. She also loves spending time with friends, whether it’s playing video games, board games, watching bad movies together, or going on late-night adventures to Kwik Trip and Taco Bell.
Chris Reed, Photographer
Chris Reed (he/him/they/them) is currently a photographer for the Winonan.
Reed is from Golden Valley, Minnesota, right outside Minneapolis and is a first-year student at Winona State University studying psychology with a minor in photography. He enjoys helping people and making sure they feel heard.
Reed can often be found rock climbing or bouldering; hiking; camping; playing pool, ping pong or board games; practicing cello or bass; or, when time allows, on a roadtrip.

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