Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 10 Retail Markups

College Textbooks

College students are often hit with sticker shock when it comes time to hit the campus bookstore. Books and other course materials now cost students an average of $1,137 a year, according to the College Board. That's equal to 26 percent of the typical tuition at a state college. And the prices have risen 22 percent in four years -- that's more than four times the rate of inflation [source:].

However, the typical bookstore markup -- about 40 percent -- is only part of the story [source:]. Publishers may use a variety of additional strategies to jack up the price. By regularly issuing new editions, they discourage the use of last year's textbooks, which can cost a fraction of the price of a new one, and decrease your chances of being able to sell back your books for much of a profit. Also, they have taken to bundling other features with textbooks, such as CD-ROMs with additional materials or pass codes to access information online. These "extras" help send textbook prices sky high [source: Roediger].

Students can save money on texts by shopping online instead of at the campus bookstore. If possible, pick up a used book from another student who's just taken the course. Or simply go to the library.

Next up, some beautiful markups in the cosmetic department.