The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The wrath of the text


It didn’t take long for us to get back into the swing of classes. By now, we all have our schedules set for the rest of the year. We have successfully made it through the add/drop period, and have some idea of what the workload will be. It took even less time to remember how much the prices of textbooks continue to squeeze budgets and make wallets squeal every semester.Each of us has spent hundreds of dollars purchasing the necessary literature for each class. A few of us lucked out and didn’t scrape the coinage under the couch for book money. But most of us drew the short stick and are feeling the burn from personal financial depression necessary for academic expansion.

Unfortunately, there are fewer places that this is more evident than in our College Bookstore. Most of us buy books there with the intention of finding a cheaper price elsewhere and selling them back. Others who can’t afford this sell-back method jot down the ISBN addresses of the books and search for them online. While this process may take longer and the student may not have the book for the first week of class, these expensive texts provide no alternative – especially for students who are highly dependant on financial aid.

With the increasing price of tuition, the high prices of textbooks are making tertiary education closer to a dream and further from a reality. At $45,000 per year, who really has extra money for textbooks?

Of course there are a few things that can be done to relieve the heavy burden of the book. Buy used instead of new. Not only will you be saving money, but you may get lucky and get one which has all the important information already underlined, saving you loads of study time. Checking online for lower prices is also extremely helpful. Our personal favorite sites are,, and Another tip would be checking the library to see if the books that you need are available here or at other colleges in Minnesota (This is particularly helpful for the English, American Studies and History departments). Share books with your friends. Not only will this keep a little bit of extra money in your pocket, but it will also keep you on schedule.

But at the end of the day, nothing would be more helpful to the student body than some assistance from the college administration. With the state that the economy is in, it is not hard to imagine that it is becoming increasingly difficult for students to buy three $150 textbooks for one class.

There are some plans in motion that are geared toward this end. MPIRG and the student government as well as the administration are attempting to set plans in motion that will allow students some relief from the increasingly heavy expense of textbooks. Hopefully, these plans will cross the boundary from discussion to action in the near future.

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