To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I am a student at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. MASSPIRG research found that students spend an average of around $1,200 per year on textbooks and textbook publishers are trying to drive up the prices more every year. As a student at MCLA, I have experienced this unfortunate problem first-hand and frankly it frustrates me immensely.
I have not even finished buying my books yet for this semester and I have already spent around $200 and have three more classes to buy books for. Prices that high are completely ridiculous when I will probably not get even half my money back if I try to sell them back at the end of the semester. There are so many fees that already are associated with going to college and I think that it is ridiculous for students to have to dole out immense amounts of money for textbooks.
Fortunately, despite constantly rising costs, there are ways to solve this epidemic. Students on my campus are working with faculty to educate them about more affordable textbook options for their students, like open source books. We also are working with teachers to be cost-effective when picking what textbooks to assign to their students.
I am excited that more affordable options are gaining popularity because I do not think I can keep buying textbooks at these unreasonable prices and still afford the other aspects of college. Open textbooks are free online and affordable in print, and they can reduce textbook costs drastically. Average savings of open textbooks are 80 percent over traditional texts.
In my and many other students’ opinions, these textbooks would be a much better option to use in the classrooms and the money saved could be put to much better causes. I’d love to spread the word about this problem because there is a solution, all we need is the support.