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Textbook Costs Are Far Too High

If you are purchasing your textbooks directly from the Palomar Bookstore or through links provided by your professors, you are overpaying. Textbooks at Palomar are unreasonably priced for the average college student, especially when more affordable options exist elsewhere.

Considering that most textbooks will only be used by students for a single semester, Palomar faculty members should prioritize offering low-cost or free textbook options for their students.

Taking a look at the textbooks sold through the Palomar Bookstore for a few general education courses, the prices are undoubtedly high. Brand new, a Math 110 textbook will cost you nearly $107, a Biology 100 textbook will cost $89, and an Economics 101 textbook will cost $139.

Calculus textbook on shelf with rent and buying prices.
Textbooks pushing $400 at Palomar Bookstore. (Photo by: Kaylin Garcia)

With some textbooks costing upwards of $100, and assuming a full-time Palomar student is taking between four to six classes per semester, this means students may be paying well over $400 in textbooks that they will only use for a handful of months before they are retired.

Students have other expenses that they would prefer to prioritize over textbooks. Taking into account that Palomar College does not currently have on-campus housing, students are often paying high gas prices to commute to campus. Many students also have monthly car payments, rent, groceries, and other living expenses that they factor into their monthly budget, so they cannot afford to spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks at the start of each semester.

Bailey Todd, a student at Palomar, said that when she is purchasing textbooks each semester, she has to reduce her spending in other areas like groceries and going out with her friends in order to fit these high-priced books within her budget.

Low-cost options are available, including rentals and used options from websites like Chegg or ThriftBooks, but students are rarely informed of these resources that can potentially save them hundreds of dollars. Professors often only provide links to the newest and most expensive edition of their required texts.

The Palomar Bookstore also offers used and rental options to help students save, but they are not great savings in comparison to the previously discussed platforms. For example, you can rent a physical copy of a Psychology 100 textbook through the bookstore for nearly $91, or you could rent the same book through Chegg for only $57.

A "Marriage and Family" text book with a price range of $143 - $340
Palomar College Bookstore charges extreme amounts for textbooks. The price range of this textbook is $143 – $340. (Photo by: Kaylin Garcia)

Palomar should be prioritizing the lowest costs possible for students, not charging close to double of what competitor websites charge.

Palomar student Sophia Castro said she is thankful that her psychology professor has provided a free PDF file option of their textbook this semester, and she wishes more professors would follow their lead.

Between attending classes and time spent on homework, full-time students at Palomar do not have much availability left in their schedules for a job, so there is very little room to offset these costs.

Students should not be forced to take on the high costs of textbooks when lower cost options exist. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks that will never be opened again after a single semester of use.


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