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: SparkAction.org].
However, the typical bookstore markup -- about 40 percent -- is only part of the story [source: ireaderreview.com]. 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.