Tuition fees in college alone are enough to make any parent go broke. After all, one hardbound textbook can cost more or less $200. Even if you don’t have the money to pay for the published books, you’ll be forced to get loans just to avail of these required textbooks. Otherwise, it will be impossible to complete the semester.

While most parents and students do everything they can to cut the cost, there are a lot of exploitative publishers who think that it is alright to hold one’s education “hostage”. Here are some of the top straight-up college textbook scams that students have to suffer.


It is distressing enough to spend your hard-earned money for hardbound textbooks that could have been priced cheaper if published electronically. What’s even more heartbreaking is when you cannot resell these hardbound books after you’ve finished your course. The reason? Publishers bundle together a one-time use access code to these textbooks. Now, who would pay for secondhand books when the one-time use access code render them useless afterward?


Have you ever gone to a coffee shop where you order coffee frappuccino, and they serve you with the ingredients – cream, coffee frappuccino syrup, milk, whipped cream, and vanilla – separately? Well, such coffee shops really exist nowadays, and millennials consider them as a novelty. But what if publishers apply this novel idea to your textbooks? The horror! No sane student will willingly order a college textbook where you have to buy a binder and personally bound the 500 pages mailed to your doorstep. That’s so not hip!


For books subject to frequent changes, it is acceptable to have new editions published for them annually. However, for those books under disciplines that don’t change much in content, what is the purpose of having new versions every year when the material is practically the same?

Even when publishers extort a hefty sum for these textbooks, there is nothing much you can do. After all, these books are requirements in college – meaning, the student really has to buy the book. For publishers, what this means is that they have a price-insensitive market. In other words, they can set any price they can for their books just because they can do it and you don’t have the option to say ‘no’. Isn’t that basically highway robbery?