It’s an age old debate; Students complain about textbook prices saying they’re being overcharged, book stores deny it and pin high costs on the publishers. But the textbook debate is far more complicated than it seems. While many college students complain about having to spend money on a “dumb textbook,” some students cannot even afford to purchase these books.

Are there funds available to help these students pay for books? Why are textbooks so expensive anyway? Would switching to digital make a difference? That’s what this site intends to explain. For a brief introduction to each element on this site, please watch the video below.


To delve into this topic, here’s what you will find under each navigation tab:

What’s the problem?: An in-depth look at how textbook pricing affects low-income students.

Differing Perspectives: You are on this page now. It is also the site’s home page that explains the purpose of this website; to expose you to the many perspectives on textbook affordability. Under this tab, you will find pieces that reflect on textbook affordability from the perspectives of students, the University Book Store, and the Office of Student Financial Aid at UW-Madison.

Textbook pricing: Visualizations that break down and explain the cost of textbooks.

Reducing costs: Tips for finding cheaper textbooks and alternative options.

About: More information on this site and the author.

Please note: each of the header navigation tabs are also a page. Make sure to click these header pages too, not just the pages that show up in the drop down menus!