College students pay around $1,000 a year for heavy, unbound textbooks that often fall apart by the end of the semester anyway. While entirely free college tuition may be far out, dropping the costs of textbooks could help students pay for the expenses of rooming, food, sports and clubs, or to start a savings account for their futures.
Students often try to find ways to lower the amount of money they spend on textbooks and access codes by renting textbooks or sharing codes with each other, but this can still be unnecessarily expensive and inconvenient. To make things more complicated, textbook companies often release new editions of their books that have new chapters and shifted page numbers, making it difficult to use older editions that may be cheaper. Many students even skip buying textbooks because they are unsure if they will even read them during the semester, and nothing is worse than spending $150 on a textbook you will never open.
While textbooks can sometimes be resold or returned to the loaner when the student no longer needs them, access codes cannot be returned and are deemed useless at the end of the course. This means that students pay hundreds of dollars on access codes alone just to never use them again once the year is over. This arises the question: Is it worth it to invest in every access code? Should more students make time to share access codes with each other to split the cost? All just to complete their homework and receive high letter grades.