The expense of college doesn’t seem to hit a student until he or she finds themselves standing in line at the bookstore with hundreds of dollars in his or her pockets. According to, the average college student will spend $80 to $120 per book.

The cost of college textbooks has been a hot topic throughout the years as students are expected to drop hundreds of dollars on books in order to get a passing grade. No matter the major, students are required to buy textbooks for class.

Some professors have a “suggested book list” for students who are interested in purchasing more books related to the subject. Other professors have one specific textbook needed in order to complete the class.

Here at Keene State College, some fields of study may “outweigh” others in a sense that a student may need to carry

George Amaru/ Art Director

George Amaru/ Art Director

more books regarding his or her major. Athletic training, physical education and exercise science are a few majors that require literal and physical “heavy” reading.“I have so many books sometimes I think my arms are going to fall off,” Athletic Training (AT)  major Erika Gray said. Gray said she is happy with her major, but wishes it was less expensive to study. “I spent around $500 on AT books,” she said.

Professor of Kinesiology, among other subjects at KSC, Dr. Wanda Swiger explained that there are other methods to decrease the amount of money students are spending on books.

“In one of my classes, I offer an app to be purchased by students on their iPhones,” Dr. Swiger said. She said the app holds the same information as one of the small books required in her class. “I like to give the students options,” Dr. Swiger said, “If they prefer to read on a screen, they can buy an app for five dollars.”Dr. Swiger also said professors have the ability to choose books needed for multiple courses. This helps the students save money by using their book for more than one class.

Exercise Science and Athletic Training majors are not the only students affected by the cost of textbooks. A creative writing class at KSC requires four books, and a Genocide/Holocaust studies course requires three.

Second year Business Major at KSC Doug Scholz, said he believes the cost of textbooks is “outrageous.”

“I had to buy four books this semester and I haven’t used them yet,” Scholz said. Scholz said he is concerned that he is spending money on books he does not need.

The textbook manager at the KSC bookstore is Helen Babonis. Her job is to contact faculty to get book orders, look for used books and set up KSC’s “buy back” program. This is a program that allows students to sell their textbooks back to the bookstore.

Babonis said she often hears students complain about the price of textbooks.

“I hear it a lot,” she laughed, “but it’s justified, the cost of books is very high.”

In order to help struggling college students, the bookstore offers open source books. These are books written and reviewed by professors and researchers around the world. If purchased online, open source books are often free.

Having the option of purchasing an open source book depends on the course and professor.

“Unfortunately with a lot of medical books, there aren’t a lot of open source options,” Dr. Swiger said. She explained that there is too much information to be categorized into a single open source book.

Dr. Swiger said some books only have a portion of the reading material needed for a course, and that is why most courses require more than one book.

Students worried about the cost of textbooks are often referred to the KSC Bookstore. The “buy back” program is a way to earn a little extra cash at the end of the semester. If books are not damaged and are needed in the bookstore, KSC will pay students for their textbooks.

MacKenzie can be contacted at

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