From the high school romances to coming-of-age discoveries to teenagers surviving sci-fi futures, there’s something about a good YA novel that gets us every time.
If you’re a YA fan, you’ve probably already read popular titles like The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. In this blog post, we’re sharing some amazing young adult novels you might have missed.
6 Interesting Books for Young Adults (That You Might Have Missed)
American Panda by Gloria Chao is about Taiwanese-American MIT freshman, Mei, as she navigates her two cultures and the beginning of her independence. Many parents would be thrilled to have their child at MIT, but Mei’s parents want more.
They’ve planned a nice, stable medical career for her. Regardless of whether she’s interested in medicine or even able to stomach any of the work. Between secretly dancing and secretly dating a Japanese-American classmate, though, Mei might be setting her own path.
You don’t actually need a tiger mom to relate to this story of family expectations, first love, and identity.
In One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus, five disparate students find themselves in detention. One of them is brutally murdered before their eyes. This is where the Breakfast Club similarities end and a page-turning murder mystery begins.
Perspective shifting, although popular in a lot of recent YA novels, isn’t usually my favorite narrative style. But it works here. The other four students in detention take turns telling their truths (and let readers get closer to what actually happened that day).
Everyone in this story has something to hide. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will love the twists as the truth gets closer.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu covers high school gossip, sexuality, and reputation in small-town Texas. While nasty rumors fly about slutty Alice Franklin, the reactions of her classmates reveal more about themselves than about Alice.
Many YA novels lean on the unsympathetic parents as stock characters, but this novel showed layered, complex relationships between teens and parents. This is a sympathetic story of peer pressure, teenage relationships, and finally independence in a small town.
Is Perennials sophisticated young adult fiction…or is it adult fiction about teenage characters?
It turns out, it doesn’t matter. This summer camp story has maturing friendships, teen romance and realizations for the YA fan, as well as more adult themes of social class and consent.
As little girls returning to camp go from crafts and ponies to beer and boys, they discover more about themselves and their families. Recommended for your friend who needs a little nudge to fall deeply in love with YA fiction.
Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy or even The Handmaid’s Tale shouldn’t miss Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours.
Although the characters are all teenage girls, this is dystopian sci-fi with a hint of feminist satire.
In the future, girls are born, raised, and modified to be pretty and compliant male playthings. Then they’re sent into a competition with each other to attract the best mate. However, the voluntary suicides at the ancient age of thirty aren’t even the most disturbing thing in this novel.
(Were you annoyed by the Very Special Heroine tropes of Divergent and similar novels? Rest assured. When the dystopian world Only Ever Yours has a rule, it’s not broken for our heroine.)
I Believe In A Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo is a sweet YA novel, especially for fans of Korean dramas. Clumsy overachiever Desi sets out a plan to attract the handsome new student. She decides to use all the tactics from her father’s beloved K-dramas to draw him in.
While the romance is central to the story, Desi’s two closest friends and her relationship with her Appa are also intriguing. You get all the fun, funny, and awkward beats of a K-drama story set in an American high school.
What are your favorite undiscovered YA gems? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us!
College midterms are right around the corner. Cue all the panic.
Whether you’re a freshman or a senior, midterms can bring on intense amounts of pressure. Here are our three favorite pieces of advice for acing your college midterms (without heaps of stress).
Take Study Breaks with This Simple Trick
Are you cramming a ton of material into a weekend study session?
It might sound simple, but make sure to factor in plenty of breaks if you want to retain the material better. Ever heard of the Pomodoro Technique? It’s a time management method that can help you get the most out of your study session.
Here’s how it works. You break your study material down into smaller, more manageable chunks (and it really works). The Pomodoro Technique is easy:
- You pick a task, like a few chapters you need to read or an outline you plan to write.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes. During the next 25 minutes, you have to promise yourself that you won’t do anything BUT that task.
- Work on the task without any interruptions until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, take a quick break. Spend 5 minutes doing anything but work, whether it’s stretching or grabbing some more coffee.
- After your 5-minute break, start the timer again for the next task. Rinse and repeat. Once you’ve done this 4 times, take a longer break for 20 or 30 minutes.
It works because our brain needs rest in order to concentrate. It’s also easy to get sidetracked by our phone, Netflix, or stress. Using the Pomodoro method helps eliminate some of those distractions.
You can manually set a timer on your phone. I personally use a free app called BeFocused so I don’t have to mess with a timer, but either way works! BeFocused is an iPhone app, but if you have an Android use you can use something like Pomodoro Timer.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
Is breathing something you consciously think about? It can save you from stress.
We’re slammed during midterm season. When we’re hit with the overwhelm of studying for everything at once and our to-do list is packed with endless tasks, we forget how to take deep breaths.
Not only can meditation help you remember your material better, but you also don’t need to spend a ton of time doing it to reap the benefits. I was terrible at meditating when I first tried it. I use the free version of the app Headspace to help (available via iPhone and Android). All it takes is three minutes and you instantly feel better!
Even if you’re not interested in meditation, focus on deep breathing when insane amounts of stress begin to hit you. Here’s how you do it:
- Place your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in through your nose until you feel your stomach begin to rise. Note: you want the air to enter all the way into your belly instead of just your chest.
- Breathe out through your nose. But make sure your exhale is even longer than your inhale (this is essential). If you inhale for 4 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds.
- Repeat for 3-5 minutes! Try it out; you’re guaranteed to instantly feel calmer and less stressed.
Start Your Study Plan Now
Don’t wait to get started! Figure out your study plan a couple weeks in advance.
It seems like professors all schedule their midterms at the same time, right? Enter panic mode.
If you want to avoid major anxiety this semester, get your study schedule nailed down now.
Planning out what days you’ll study, creating your own study guides, and organizing the material will help you prioritize every class. This way you’re not devoting all of your time and energy to just one class.
Your personal study guides can be a simple outline of key topics and ideas you plan to study. Getting a game plan together now will help clear your head.
What makes a great book, anyway?
Think back to the most memorable books you’ve read. They’re gripping. You experience intense reactions as you read them.
And most of all? They change you.
Here are 5 books that will change your perspective on life. If you’re looking for a fresh read that’s motivated and uplifting, check these books out.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Have you ever felt like your life lacked meaning? You don’t necessarily feel hopeless, but some days it feels like you’re unsure whether or not your life counts for something.
We all seek fulfillment in the world, whether it’s unconsciously or not. This memoir by Viktor B. Frankl shares that perspective from inside a Nazi concentration camp — and it’s considered to be one of the most influential books in the world.
The idea that a book on the Holocaust leaves you feeling positive and inspired seems counterintuitive, but a Man’s Search for Meaning does exactly that.
The author was a former psychiatrist imprisoned in a concentration camp. He describes the terrifying experiences they endured to share how his fellow prisoners adapted their mindset to cope with the awfulness.
Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Change is tough. Even when we seek out a change in the future, it’s scary.
Think about your first day of college. You could be counting down the days until move-in, but when the day finally comes? You get pretty nervous.
So why is change such a nerve-wracking experience? That’s the question the Heath brothers seek to answer in the book Switch. Their vision is simple: In order to motivate change in your life, you have to understand both sides of your brain.
We have a logical type of brain and an emotional type. Using a simple metaphor, the authors of the book explain how you actually change your behavior.
Congratulations, By the Way by George Saunders
Think back to your graduation. Do you remember the speakers?
Commencement speeches can be hit or miss, but the really great ones leave you feeling encouraged. They move you.
This book is an extended version of George Saunders speech at Syracuse University in 2013 — it’s perfect for recent college graduates or anyone in need of a pick-me-up. It’s an easy, short read. His main point might sound a little corny but it’s an excellent reminder of what’s really important in life.
Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht
What’s your dream job?
Aliza Licht is a top publicist in the fashion industry and a career mentor for young graduates just getting started in their industry. Her book spills the insider secrets of her experience in PR and offers a straightforward guide for getting ahead in today’s professional world.
But it goes a lot deeper than the fashion industry. Her lessons apply to every industry — and it’s not just for women.
Aliza fully embraces social media. She shares advice on building your personal brand, how to communicate, and the social etiquette inside the corporate world.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
You might have already seen the movie and that’s okay. I still believe the book is worth reading at least once.
If you don’t know the premise yet, here’s a little backstory. Hazel is a 16-year-old girl battling thyroid cancer when she meets Augustus in a cancer support group. Augustus is currently in remission after years of facing bone cancer.
I won’t give away the ending, but this novel deals with oodles of tough topics like death, cancer, love, and the afterlife. Sounds kinda depressing, right? However, The Fault in Our Stars is equally heartwarming and inspiring too.
Kinda sucks, doesn’t it?
You enter college thinking it’s about taking courses on topics you want to study, not more general education requirements.
In reality, most of your first two years of college are spent taking these mandatory classes (aka your “gen ed” courses). Like most things in life, there are pros and cons when it comes to these required subjects.
For example, when you’re undecided on your major general education can help you figure out what classes interest you. Sometimes the topics we think we’re passionate about–or think we should be passionate about–don’t really interest us at all.
Either way, since gen eds are a must-do for graduating from college let’s talk about what you can do to make the most of them.
How to Enjoy Your General Education Classes in College
Find Out Who Teaches the Class (Before You Sign Up)
If you haven’t already heard of it, Rate My Professors is the website that will become the game-changer to your college experience. You just plug in the name of a professor into their search box (or the name of your school) and you’ll find reviews/ratings of their classes from your fellow students.
Obviously, you should use your best judgment with the reviews. Not every review is reflective of the professor. The students’ effort affects their experience in class too. However, it’s great for getting a rough idea of the experience. If every single rating for a professor is 1 out of 5 or you discover all of the reviews mention an impossible grading system, you probably don’t want to take that class.
I always used Rate My Professors when it came to my gen eds. What did I get out of it? I met some professors that I genuinely loved learning from because they made the class fun.
Choose Topics that Grab Your Attention
Even though they’re required courses, you get to choose which classes to take. There is still a lot of wiggle room when it comes to general education. Not a fan of geometry? Take a statistics class to fulfill your math requirement. Don’t want to take another American History 100 class? Consider a class in art history or an area of history that interests you.
The more engaged you are in the topic, the better you’ll do in class. It’s just easier when you like what you’re learning. Who knows, you might even decide to switch majors after taking. That’s why colleges recommend you don’t put off these courses. You might discover a new opportunity or passion in life…or discover your current major isn’t the path you wanted to take after all.
If you take these classes early on, there’s still plenty of time left to change your major or figure out what industry excites you.
Don’t Make it Too Hard on Yourself
Not a morning person? Think carefully before you sign up for that 8 am MWF class. Like I mentioned earlier, you should choose your classes based on what subject matter interests you. Not on the convenience, availability, or how easy you think it will be.
Some courses might fit better into your schedule, but that doesn’t mean they’re a good fit. If you think about it, each class costs you hundreds of dollars in tuition. Why take something that is a total bore and waste of your time?
In order to make the most of your general education, don’t take a class that will make you miserable. Or if you take the class and realize it’s not for you, drop it ASAP before the cutoff date.
Talk to Your Classmates
Your gen eds are a great place to meet people outside your major. Engage with your classmates!
You can find amazing new friends and create relationships with people. Once you get to your junior year of college, the rest of your classes will mostly be with the same group of people. General education courses can introduce you to cool friends you may not have met on campus otherwise.
You’ve heard the advice a bazillion times.
Get experience before you finish school and you’ll have a better shot at getting hired when you graduate. Everyone makes it sound so easy…as if your schedule wasn’t already packed with exams and studying.
Here’s the thing:
Internships are a stepping stone that can launch your entire career. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Formers interns report higher rates of employment and higher salaries than recent graduates who didn’t complete an internship.
But you know what else? Internships can offer you a ton of advantages when it comes to your future work (and personal life).
Let’s look at four reasons why you should do an internship.
#1 You’ll Discover What Things Are Really Like
To begin with, college internships let you see what it’s really like in the trenches. You get the opportunity to experience the reality of working in a particular role, or what it looks like to work for a specific company.
Why should you care? Believe it or not, your dream job isn’t always what it seems. I’ve been there myself. An internship lets you test out your dreams before you’re 3-years-deep into a career you absolutely hate.
If you find yourself on a career path you despise, you have to start all over again. This might not seem like a big deal. However, you might realize you can’t stand to work another minute at your stupid job at a time in your life when you want to focus on other things. Like your personal life. Or earning a higher income.
Without interning, you won’t really know what your vision looks like until you accept the position. Then you’re kinda stuck until you figure a way out.
#2 You Can Break Into Ultra-Competitive Industries
Want to break into an industry with fierce competition? You’ll need experience. There’s no other way around it unless you have some powerful contacts.
Internships lead to the chance to build an incredible network, spice up your resume, and learn the realities of your potential career path. These are all golden opportunities. You’ll be able to beef up your resume with your accomplishments, new job, and technical skills, giving you job experience that employers are seeking out today.
But let’s back up a little bit. Why does networking matter so much?
You often hear that finding a job is about who you know. This is often portrayed in a negative light; people sometimes look down on a candidate who landed a job based on their connections. But there’s more to the story than what it seems.
Networking doesn’t have to be sleazy.
It’s simply about having contacts in the industry who know the type of work you’re capable of producing. These are people who can trust you. These types of referrals can get you far, so stay in touch with your industry network! It’s easier than ever keep contact with these connections online, via email or a social network like LinkedIn.
#3 You’ll Learn How to Handle Situations
When you work as an intern, you get a glimpse into “the real world” of professional environments.
You see, there are many different departments within an organization or company. You learn how each of these departments interact with each other. Ultimately, you see how your job role affects other departments. You’ll learn more about how your work benefits your future employers–which helps you sell yourself as the perfect candidate–and learn how to climb the ladder to reach your end-goal.
You also gain experience working under pressure. Yes, you’re learning this in college, but it’s a lot different at your job. You get to make decisions and show your boss what you’re truly capable of.
But there’s one small catch. You might also get a first-hand glimpse into office politics. While you hope to avoid workplace drama, it’s inevitable sometimes. As much as it sucks, you want to learn how to handle these situations like a pro (so you can avoid them in the future).
#4 It Can Lead to a Full-Time Offer
While there’s no guarantee, you might get hired on as a full-time employee after your internship is finished.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again with my peers. Many companies will hire from their intern pools. It’s just easier that way because they’ve already devoted their time and energy into training you. Hiring for a job is a long process and these positions need to be filled!
Plus, once employers know how amazing your work is and can see with their own eyes how much value you add to their team, they won’t ever want you to leave.
So When Should You Start Looking?
If you’re looking for a summer internship, February is the best month to apply. It doesn’t hurt to start searching for what’s out there in the meantime. That gives you time to work on your resume and portfolio too.
But I’m going to let you in on a secret. Another option is applying for a fall or spring internship: there’s far less competition.
This is especially important if your field is in a hyper-competitive industry. For instance, I have a friend who attends one of the best schools in this country. She couldn’t find a summer internship, even though she applied to dozens. What did she do? Even though she felt discouraged, she kept searching over the summer.
By July, she landed the fall internship of her dreams.
Some programs require an internship before you can graduate. Other programs don’t make it mandatory but will offer credits toward your degree. If it’s not required, the choice is yours…but I think it’s worth it.
It’s already crushed tons of records over the last month, but Crazy Rich Asians shows no signs of slowing down its box office domination yet.
The mainstream rom-com has become the biggest summer hit in this genre since 2015. Why all the buzz? Why is Crazy Rich Asians important? Well, it’s significant for two reasons. In the first place, Crazy Rich Asians is the first Hollywood studio film with an all-Asian cast in over two decades.
Not to mention, it’s an opportunity for us regular folk to indulge in the lush, over-the-top fantasy lifestyle of the mega-rich.
How can you pass that up? It’s pure, fun escapism.
If you haven’t had a chance to catch the movie, go see it! Meanwhile, you should also check out the bestselling novel by Kevin Kwan. If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll love reading the books. Just be warned: they’re highly addictive.
If you aren’t familiar with the novel yet you probably want a little backstory, right?
The plot follows a young couple, Nick and Rachel. They’ve been dating for two years in the States, but Nick wants to bring Rachel to stay with his family in Singapore for the summer. When they arrive in Singapore, Rachel discovers her boyfriend is crazy rich.
Here are 5 reasons why you should read Crazy Rich Asians (and the rest of the trilogy).
1. RICH CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
There are a bazillion characters to keep track of in this book. But they’re highly entertaining! Nick comes from a huge family, but as you get further along in the book you start to recognize everyone by their personality and how they’re all connected.
The novel digs deeper into the character development–it really fills in those gaps that weren’t fleshed out in the movie. While I personally enjoy Nick and Rachel’s love story, his family members are what make the story hilarious.
2. YOU’LL GET SUCKED IN BY THE DRAMA
If you think your family is out there wait until you meet Nick Young’s circle of relatives. They’re unwelcoming toward Rachel, to say the least. Nick’s family believes she’s in it for the money– they refuse to accept her because she’s an American. This leads to a whole lot of drama and entertainment from everyone.
And if you have trouble keeping up with the zillion characters in his family? There’s a family tree to help you follow along.
3. PEEK INTO ANOTHER CULTURE
The author, Kevin Kwan, includes snippets of Malay language throughout the book. This is one reason why I highly recommend the print version of this novel: He offers translations via footnotes throughout the book. On the Kindle version, these notes can appear of out of order.
Not only is the book rich with language, but you get to look at another culture. One that I didn’t previously know much about. Crazy Rich Asians lets you imagine the beautiful landscapes, mouth-watering food, and designer clothing of the wealthy elite in Singapore.
4. RICH AND DESCRIPTIVE DETAILS
Crazy Rich Asians paints an impressive portrait of opulence and culture. Seriously, you’ll be dying to taste all of the food he describes. You can see the exotic, vivid landscapes come to life across the pages. The glitz of luxury makes this book the perfect escape.
5. IT’S AN EASY AND LIGHTHEARTED READ
Whether you need a break from the whirlwind of school or just want to read something amusing, this novel is a breeze to get through. You could easily read this in a day. Between the fantasy and drama, I couldn’t put it down.
It’s perfect to take along as a vacation read or you can save it for a rainy Saturday. And once you finish? Trust me, you’ll have questions. It gets even better with the sequels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.
So what are you waiting for? Check out the movie while it’s still in theaters and grab a copy of the book today!
Want to know whether college is still worth it in 2018?
Here’s a crazy fact: If you add up all of the student loan debt in the US, it reaches over $1.4 trillion dollars. It’s hard to visualize just how much a trillion dollars is.
But here’s an idea:
A trillion dollars laid out next to each other would reach the sun. Likewise, a trillion dollars is nearly the amount of money currently in circulation in the entire country.
Currently, the average college student graduates with $31,000. Paying off the burden of student loans can take decades, depending on what field you work in post-college and how much total debt you take on. For one thing, graduate, law, and medical degrees rack up significantly more tuition than a 4-year undergraduate degree.
If you add up the costs, is college really worth the debt today? Let’s weigh in.
College is Expensive
While the costs for tuition and books have steadily increased over the last 30 years, so has the value of a college degree.
Well, the average starting salary for a college grad has never been higher. According to Time, the average pay for new college graduates is right around $50,000.
(Want to find out how much the Class of 2018 is really earning? Click here to find out.)
So this means that yes, we’re paying more to attend college. But we’re also getting more opportunity from it than our parents or the generations before us.
A recent study conducted by Georgetown University found that people who graduate from college earn around $17,000 more per year than high school graduates. That adds up to a million more over your lifetime. Considering we need between $1 million to $1.5 million saved up to retire, attending college can help secure your future.
This graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics compares the average weekly pay and unemployment rates based on your level of education.
College is a Gamble
We already know that some college degrees will pay off faster than others. The average salary in technology, medicine, or science is going to much higher than a starting salary in arts or humanities.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue arts if that’s our passion. But should we go the route of student loans in that case?
It’s a gamble.
If you decide to pursue one of these routes–like sociology, arts, psychology, or political science–consider how much you’ll realistically earn in 5-10 years before you take out student loans. In this case, it’s probably wiser to seek financial aid in the form of scholarships. The debt isn’t worth it.
Not All Debt is Bad
Having a little bit of debt can actually be beneficial.
After all, taking out student loans, car payments, or credit cards is how you start to build your credit history.
If you’ve never borrowed money, you don’t have any credit. This makes it harder to take out a loan for large purchases in the future–like when you’re ready to buy a house
When you make on-time payments on your debt, you’re demonstrating you can borrow money responsibly and pay it off. I saw this happen first hand when I paid off my first car and my credit score jumped up to excellent!
I still have a significant amount left on my student loans, but my credit has never looked better.
However, I wish I had known exactly what I was getting myself into when I borrowed money in college. Nobody really explained student loans to me, they just let me rack up debt with no questions asked. The Graduate Survival Guide: 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford To Make In College is a fantastic resource for high school seniors or any students who want to understand their financial decisions better.
Is college worth it today? That is ultimately your call to make, but I think it’s absolutely worth every penny. If I could do it all over again, I’d still go back to college.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Between classes, studying, work and a personal life–college is a serious balancing act. No matter what year you’re in.
For instance, everything feels foreign during freshman year. You’re encountering new situations and the exhilarating experience of being on your own for the first time. It’s exciting…but you probably have a lot of questions.
But what about when you reach your junior or senior year? Once more, you’re close to a huge life transition. Now you’re faced with thoughts about your potential future path.
Here are 5 inspirational books every college student should have around for those times when you need a pick-me-up.
We’re all connected online in today’s world. In fact, most of us are on at least 1-2 social media networks (if not more). Social media is fun, entertaining, and an excellent way to stay in touch with your friends.
Especially since college can mark the first time you’ve ever lived away from your hometown.
But what about the flip side of social media? Like cyberbullying. Privacy concerns. Safety threats.
It can happen to anyone if you’re not careful. Shame Nation covers some pretty groundbreaking territory. The authors, Scheff and Schorr, explore the intense backlash and nastiness people can face on social media.
She uses incidents like the 2016 presidential election and high-profile tragedies in recent years to demonstrate how we communicate has changed.
And it’s powerful.
Are you the new kid on campus? Pick up a copy of this book.
Moving into your dorm is thrilling, but once your parents leave? It hits you. You’re alone in a (tiny) room living with a total stranger. It’s totally normal to feel a little homesick in this moment, even if you get along perfectly with your roommate.
The Naked Roommate contains letters, stories, and advice from students who’ve been in your shoes before. Some of the advice might seem obvious but most of the tips are great reminders–they cover just about any topic or challenge you could run into at school.
Imagine a straight-A college student. What do you think of first?
Many of us picture someone with their head down in a book, studying in every moment of free time. Or we think of a high-achiever in school on a full scholarship. Someone who is obsessed with their GPA.
These scenarios might be true for many people. But what if the key to success in college was simply thinking outside of the box?
Inside this book, you’ll find the strategies used by real-life students to become standout students. Their advice is unique, no-fluff, and unpredictable.
Picture your first year of life away from school. For good.
It’s an exciting thought, but let’s be real–it’s a little intimidating too. You’re trying to find your place in a new professional environment. Maybe you’re moving to a new city. And dating? It can get pretty complicated.
The Freshman Year of Life is a light-hearted and entertaining read. It’s full of short essays from young college graduates, making it a great book to have handy when you need a quick pick-me-up for inspiration.
Their stories are honest and relatable. Each essay offers practical advice that’s perfect for any current students, those who are about to graduate, or recent graduates about to enter the “real world” for the first time.
Your 20’s is a rollercoaster ride.
You get to share the fun experiences of your twenties…but it can also be a little overwhelming. Sometimes we feel a little lost in the world or unsure of ourselves.
According to author Dr. Meg Jay, your twenties mean something. In fact, they’ll change your life. In a world where we’re constantly told to live in the moment, this book offers a different perspective on life as a twenty-something today.
What’s her point? While we’re still very young in our twenties, we have the chance to build the foundation for the rest of our lives. Dr. Jay covers that in terms of our career and personal lives.
Are you sick of tired of paying hundreds of dollars for a textbook you might only crack open once all semester?
Yeah, I thought so.
We all know textbooks are expensive by now. That part doesn’t really come as a surprise to us anymore. On the other hand, that awareness still doesn’t ease the sticker shock of adding up your book costs for one semester.
So why DO textbooks cost a small fortune? Let’s find out.
Why Are College Textbooks So Expensive?
According to the College Board, the average college student in a four-year program pays $1,250 per year on textbooks. That’s a serious obstacle for students who are already dealing with rising tuition costs.
The American Enterprise Institute also investigated the rising prices of textbooks. They found that the cost of recreational books, like novels, has gone down.
While college textbooks have gone up nearly 200%. Who’s to blame? There are a number of factors.
College Professors Level of Awareness
Professors frequently assign book titles without considering how much the text cost the students…or how much their students will actually USE the books that semester.
It’s not that professors are out to get us. They just might not be aware of how expensive the book really is–or they don’t think about the price at all.
Book publishers pressure educators too. They have sales reps that come onto campus and push the latest edition, bundled with software. At the end of the day, you professor really has no reason to keep the costs of their book down.
In this case, we have to educate our professors as well.
Ask them at the beginning of the semester (or prior to the start of it) if you REALLY need the latest edition of the textbook–or if you can get through the semester with a used copy. Explain to them that you want to do well in their class but the cost of the textbook is holding you back.
Book Publishers Want Profits
Publishers play the main role in driving up book costs.
Did you know there are only 5 major book publishers that run the textbook market? That’s right, 80% of the market is controlled by these 5 textbook publishers.
And they’re hungry for profits. They bundle textbooks with software and unique codes that forces students to buy the latest edition.
These traditional publishers don’t make money off you purchasing used books–so they do everything in their power to make those older editions “out of date” and useless.
Campus Bookstores Markup Retail Prices
Your campus bookstore wants to make money too. Book publishers are hungry for profit…but so are universities.
Campus bookstores usually mark the retail price of a textbook up by 25-28%. Depending on how much your book costs, this markup can be significant. That means a $200 textbook becomes $250 at the bookstore.
Look closely at your college bookstore website. You’ll probably come across a pricing policy section that explains what their current markup is.
However, this isn’t to vilify your campus bookstore. It costs them money to run the bookstore–they have overhead like paying their employees. To be honest, many campus bookstores are owned by Barnes & Noble anyway.
It Depends on Your Field of Study
Information changes rapidly depending on what field you’re studying. If you’re in a field like medical or science? They’re constantly discovering new information and the textbooks have to be updated as a result.
However, if you’re studying a field like math, you’ll find the information doesn’t really change. With this in mind, you can most likely get away with an older textbook version.
Search via Textbook Nova
Fortunately, the internet is changing the textbook industry. Website search engines like ours–TextbookNova.com–can save you money.
Search for your assigned text via the ISBN. The ISBN is the bar-code number for the textbook; it should be 10 digits or 13 digits. Why is this so important? Well, it lets you know that you’re getting the right version/edition of the book.
Once you’ve the right textbook, you’ll see options for buying it full price, used, or renting it (usually the cheapest). If you want to go with a used edition, you can price compare multiple price range options based on the condition of the book.
All in all, today’s textbook publishing model and the rising costs won’t last. It just isn’t sustainable. Open-sourced material is spreading online and the internet has given students far more options for price shopping.
The more we understand about why we’re paying so much for a textbook, the more can do to influence the current system.