High cost of textbooks worries heads of household
The owner of the La Rosa bookstore described as a "relaxation" the decision of the publishers to change the school textbooks every year. jorge martínez/LD
“The books are costly.” This was the answer that prevailed among parents and owners of independent bookstores, who were on the Enriquillo Park on Duarte Avenue premises when they were questioned about the cost of the school supplies requested for the new school year.
During an area tour, the Listín Diario team spoke with the bookstore owners and parents acquiring these materials for the school season, which starts the following Monday.
“They have to buy a very expensive book, currently worth almost RD$2,000 and how is the budget of a house, buy four books which cost almost RD$8,000, this is unheard of”, said José Alberto, who has been the owner of the bookstore La Rosa for more than 16 years.
José Alberto reported that, depending on the publisher, books can cost RD$1,930 in the case of Editora Santillana and RD$2,050 in the case of SM.
He also commented that this price is given for primary and secondary textbooks.
He also said that with the publishers’ “relaxation” of renewing the versions of the books every year, the money invested in the bookstores is lost, and it is difficult for the heads of household to exchange the used textbooks for new ones because the previous editions are obsolete.
“The parent who used the books last year can no longer use them this year because the publisher has taken on the task of changing the books again,” she said.
Santa Brito, the mother of two girls in a bookstore in the area, expressed her disagreement with the increase in the books and indicated that she must buy them out of obligation for her daughter’s education.
“Right now as you know that there is nothing cheap, one is that one has to sacrifice and buy them because it is an obligation for the boys to study. You have to work hard to get everything,” said Santa, with anguish reflected on her face.
Her daughters, who are in sixth and fourth grade, need four basic books, a spelling book, and a dictionary.
Brito said that the primary textbooks for secondary school from the Susaeta publishing house cost RD$1,950 each.
While the other primary textbooks cost RD$1,400 and RD$1,700, respectively.
He considered that measures should be taken about the price increase and the constant change of publishers.
“It doesn’t suit a parent because every time a child moves up a grade, if the other child has to use it, they have to buy a new one.” a parent would recycle a book, or the brother, cousin, or neighbor would use it, but when the publisher changes the parent what they can do is throw it away.”
Another complaint expressed to the Listín Diario team was that of Esmeralda Heraldo, who was in another of the small businesses located on Duarte Street, with a green bag full of books, which she said she would change to be able to buy the ones she needs this year.
She said that her daughter is in fifth grade and that this year, in search of “economy,” she opted to go to the place to exchange her used books for new ones, although sometimes this task is difficult because of the change of editions, according to this mother.
“This is too expensive, and besides, they change publishers all the time and the versions are no longer updated, it’s a robbery,” said Heraldo.
She reported that the books they asked for her daughter cost RD$1,800, and she was asked for 11 different text materials, so if she could not change the used books, she would have to incur an expense of more than RD$22,000, which she said is only part of the expenses she will have to make to send her daughter to school.
Bookstore owners and parents complained about the changes of books from the publishers, which leads to a loss for everyone since there are many obsolete books left on the market, which cannot be changed because the bookstores cannot find sales and parents must discard them because the schools no longer request them.
Amauri Colomén, a local bookstore owner, said: “I think it is too radical and too fast to change a book every four years; the publisher should give it at least seven years so that people can breathe.”
Likewise, Luis Alfredo Ramírez, owner of another store, commented: “When the book is changed, we have hundreds of books left.”
Without the authorities taking action, the publishers change the textbooks every year, which the population complains about.
“That is very bad, because before with just one book a whole family could study. Now it is almost every year. Some of the books I bought last year no longer work this year,” said Esmeralda Heraldo, a mother.