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Textbook Access Codes

Textbook Access Codes

People talk about income inequality but what about textbook pricing inequality? And subject inequality?

Most students now search first for used books and rental books. Seldom can a student afford a new $200 textbook unless there is absolutely no other alternative. And in some cases, the alternative is to not purchase the book and hope for the best, or perhaps find a library copy or share a copy with a friend.

But in addition to the textbook cost, there’s also the hidden cost of access codes. EvOnline Content Access Codeen when a student can find an affordable used or rental textbook price, the expensive activation code for online content can be a deal breaker.

With the code, a student has access to online practice exams, quizzes and videos. It also allows for assignment submission if homework is being tracked and graded.

Perhaps online access portals provided by the publisher make it easier for the professor to track student interaction, homework submission and participation. However, most colleges also use Blackboard which can do much of the same thing and isn’t an additional expense for the student.

The access code costs almost as much as the textbook and can only be used once.  There’s also no guarantee that a professor will use the online components frequently enough to justify the extra cost. And at the end of the semester, when a student tries to resell the textbook, its value is diminished because it doesn’t have a valid access code.  Binder Ready Textbook

Some college majors and courses use access codes more frequently.  The science students are especially hard hit. Do students ever switch out of a major because of the cost of textbooks and access fees?

Perhaps access codes are a convenience for professors but they are definitely a drain on student finances. If the online content is so good, why not just ask students to purchase that, not both the textbook and the online component?

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