College Books Prices Rising

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28)-- As the new school year is set to get underway, the price of books for college students just keeps going up.

The National Association of College Stores says the average student pays $563 a year for required course materials. Just a few years ago the average cost a student paid a year for books was $700. Experts say part of that decrease is students are finding more options on how to get them.

"I've already got like two from here and I have to buy like three more and I ordered about four online," says University of Iowa Student Anne Gaspar.

She made $62 selling back old course materials and says she is expecting it to cost quite a bit for those fall semester books.

"A lot. Yeah, a lot of money," she says.

Iowa Book in Iowa City is taking faculty orders and deciding how many books to have in store and how many students will find them in other ways.

"In the last 10 years the prices have gone so crazy that the students are price shopping all over the place. They can get them on eBay, they can get them online, they can get them from other students," says Iowa Book Manager Peter Vanderhoef.

He says less demand for new books is part of what's driving publisher prices up. He has noticed some students not buying books or sharing with classmates. He says part of what they can do is find the best price when they buy so that can be passed on to the students. He says many professors are being more conscientious of it too.

"They're a lot more aware of it now than they were 10 years ago," he says.

Gaspar says she is thankful when professors take that cost into consideration.

"Sometimes you don't even use the books for the class so it's kind of annoying to have to buy it or if you use them it's just for one chapter," she says.

Vanderhoef says just a little bit of research can help save money on books. He says start early to get the best pick. He also suggests looking for when different editions of that book have been published. He says those time intervals could be an indication of when the next edition will be published, giving the shopper a better idea of whether it would be smarter to buy used or new and sell back, or rent. Here are more tips.

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