Should Textbooks be Free?

Patricia Garcia • Managing & Newsletter Editor

close up of books stacked together
Image courtesy of FreePik

The Texas Legislature passed 666 laws that went into effect Sept. 1. One of these includes HB 33- Post-Secondary Course Credit.

This law “increases the affordability of textbooks,” will enforce universities to provide Textbook Assistance Information to students, and force textbook publishers to not sell anything in a bundle, but rather to sell items individually.

Students already pay thousands of dollars in tuition each semester.

This is not including textbooks, which in some cases consist of access codes that typically cost more than a hundred dollars for each one.

“College textbooks should be free because it is unreasonable to ask financially insecure students to pay out of pocket for tools that are necessary for an adequate education,” sophomore student Gabriella Vasquez said. “Free textbooks would partially relieve the strain placed on broke college students.”

There are always those professors that will purposely try to require textbooks that are a cheaper option, to provide students with less stress.

“My marketing professor specifically chose a book we didn’t have to purchase to help us out,” junior student Ashley Lopez said. “She gave us the link to the e-book, so she really helped us to save money. There are also a lot of resources out there in which you can get textbooks at a cheaper option. I’m sure lots of students take advantage of them to save as much money as they can. I know I do.”

Here is a list of resources students can check out to receive discounted or free textbooks:

  • Amazon provides the options to buy paperback or hardback textbooks at a reasonable price. It also provides Kindle versions, and an option to rent textbooks.

  • Chegg allows you to “save up to 90% off on textbooks” with the option of buying or renting textbooks.

  • UT Tyler’s library has a selection of free e-textbooks available. Check it out here:

Eventually, this new law could potentially make textbooks even more expensive than they already are, which means more money college students will have to spend on textbooks for their classes if textbooks are sold individually and not in a bundle.

“Tuition costs are already high, not to mention there are other expenses such as housing and parking to worry about,” senior Moriah Yancy said. “I think free textbooks would relieve a tremendous burden on students, especially when there are often classes that hardly use their “required” material.”

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