Friday 15 December 2017

Book prices increasing year-by-year

By Sara Gahan

Jamie Saunders and Tony Hennessy in The Book Centre, Wexford.
Jamie Saunders and Tony Hennessy in The Book Centre, Wexford.

While pupils and students are enjoying their summer holidays, the back to school costs are already weighing on some parents' minds.

Parents are feeling the burden as book prices are increasing year-by-year, with some schools in Wexford switching to iPads which adds to these costs.

Jamie Saunders, who works in The Book Centre, Wexford said the average cost of books for a child going into first year of secondary school is €400.

A first year student needs to do all 16 subjects before picking their subjects for second and third year.

Two schools in Wexford, Presentation and Meanscoil Garman, are now using iPads.

Jamie said: 'The iPad alone costs €900 which does not include the insurance or the specific case they need to buy for it. One parent from the Presentation said she had spent, so far, €2,000 and that was not including a uniform.'

With the iPad, students can download their textbooks off an e-book service called Wriggle but are still paying full whack for the books.

Jamie said the biggest disadvantage is that students cannot make notes or highlight anything of importance to them on their iPads.

'The iPads do not even offer the foreign language books they need so parents are buying books on top of the €900 for the iPad. We have parents coming in and buying all the books as well as students learn better from the them,' she said.

Parents who have children going into fifth year are looking at spending an average of €300 on school books, with additional costs throughout the year for exam papers and school supplies.

Jamie said they see an increase, books that are delivered to them are at least up by €2 each year and schools are now requesting all new editions of some textbooks.

Jamie said: 'New editions could cost €40, which is ridiculous as that is nearly the price you pay for a college book. The biggest problem for parents is they can't re-sell the books at the end of the year because they are constantly changing.'

Meanwhile, the cost of sending a child to primary school is only getting worse with teachers requesting certain books for their classes.

Parents are spending €30 to €90, depending on what class their children are in. Jamie said third and fifth class seem to be the worst as lists coming in have at least six books on them as well as certain supplies.

Jamie said: 'Today third and fifth class pupils need six or more books. Judging by the parents reaction here it is only getting worse, especially for those who have more than one child going to school.'

The Book Centre have a Lay Away Scheme, which seems to be very popular among parents. They leave the book list in with the staff at the start of the summer and can pay bit-by-bit off each week.

'Once everything is paid for they can collect the books then. It is a good way to relieve stress for anyone as there does not seem to be much schemes in Wexford,' said Jamie.

Some schools in the county are now doing book vouchers for families for as much as €150, the vouchers are means tested based on the households income.

Jamie said: 'I would advise everyone to come in now with their book lists as we are running out of stock fast. To re-order everything could take a while. Even leave the list here and pay part of it off when you want with our Lay Away Scheme.'

The Book Centre run a School Books Saving Card scheme. You can top it up throughout the year and then when the time comes it will either pay part or all of the books needed for the next term.

Wexford People

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