Is the high cost of buying textbooks damaging our children’s education?

 

A price worth paying?

On Friday I purchased two textbooks covering the foundation and higher papers of the GCSE Maths 1-9 syllabus.  I would like to say I was shocked by the price cost, but to be honest, I wasn’t.

Maths GCSE 1 to 9 Textbooks
The two books I purchased at Waterstones.

Even with Waterstones running a buy one and buy a second for half-price the combined cost still came to just under thirty quid.  On Amazon, each book cost £21.37 with Prime and £17.38 for a used copy through ‘other sellers’  To be fair,  these are well-written books with beautifully colourful diagrams and illustrations quite capable of supporting the study of any able and well-motivated students on their own.

A fair charge of just taking the ……….?

Unfortunately, the price charged for textbooks means that only the most well-off can easily afford or even justify buying them.  And the same is also true of schools.  Like medicine is to the NHS, books are the lifeblood of our education system.  Are the prices charged by publisher fair, or are they, like the pharmaceutical companies with the NHS, taking advantage of government policy that in seeking to fragment the provision of education to a point where individual institutions are unable to benefit from the economies of scale to influence the price charged to them?   Whatever the reason, the high cost of textbooks harms the education of our children.

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