COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. Three days after fall semester classes began at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Joe Dilwood still hadn't bought his books. He wasn't procrastinating he was saving up.
"I don't have the money yet," he said.
Each semester, the sociology major struggles to pay his textbook bill. He's taken out loans, shared books with friends, begged professors for a copy of the course materials. Dilwood, a junior, estimates he spends $300 per semester on books.
Like many students going back to college this month, Dilwood will find himself standing at a bookstore cash register asking: "Are you sure that's right? Are you sure?"
The National Association of College Stores frequently hears about student "sticker shock" about books, spokeswoman Laura Nakoneczny said. The average cost of a college textbook in 1998 was $61.66, up about $4 from 1997, the most recent figures available from the NACS.
Students recently surveyed by the NACS report putting out an average of $275 per term for books $168 for new texts and $107 for used.
But everyone says what you spend depends on what you study.
Stefanie Ekerholm, a sophomore business marketing major at CU-Springs, went book buying last week and rang up a tally of $163.71. A friend in engineering won't likely get off for so little, she said.
"The more technical the course is, the bigger your book is going to be, the bigger your bill will be," she said.
A breakdown of the average textbook dollar shows no one is pulling in huge profits. The majority of money spent about 75 cents of that dollar goes to the publisher. The college bookstore makes about 4 cents on each dollar of a new book.