Here's an interesting article in The Chronicle of Higher EducationWith 'Access Codes,' Textbook Pricing Gets More Complicated Than Ever.

While I very much appreciate the online "textbook companion sites" that offer things like quizzes and flashcards, the one time I purchased an "access code" for a textbook site, I was decidedly underwhelmed. This was especially true because my access only lasted for 6 months. I just wasn't worth the price, IMHO.

Google, "textbook costs" and you will find dozens of articles of the same theme - "Why do college textbooks cost so much?" It's a problem. Everyone knows it's a problem. Even the GAO got involved with an investigation. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that potential solutions, such as Flat World Knowledge, will ever go main-stream. I read not too long ago a comment by a college professor explaining the amount of work that goes into writing a college textbook and why they should cost as much as they do. (Interestingly, she didn't seem to grasp the question posed to her; that is, has the amount of work somehow increased so much from the 1970s and 1980s that it would explain the jump in price that is more than doubled the rate of inflation?) My thought, though, is quite frankly, "Just how many introductory biology textbooks does the world really need?" I own 5 introductory geology textbooks and there are many more out there on the market. The thing is, they really aren't that much different when it comes to content. Yes, they have different photos and may introduce different topics in different orders, but for the most part, they all teach the same thing. Perhaps part of the "work involved" on the side of the authors would be to determine whether or not there is a genuine need for the book they intend to write?

One of the great things about using testing to earn college credits is that you do not have a "required textbook." Not only do you save a bundle on tuition costs, you can also save a lot of money with textbooks as well. You have the option of not buying a textbook at all, or buying a used previous edition, often for less than $10 including shipping. When you supplement your studies with resources found online and at your local library, you can gain a thorough knowledge of your chosen subject matter, without breaking the bank.
It's been awhile since I've done this. In fact, I think the last one was when HC USA was still at its old host/blog. So, I thought it was about time for another round of, "Textbooks that won't break the bank!" fun. This time, let's try chemistry.

From Amazon:
Whoa. Before I really get started, I just found a chemistry textbook that is selling new for $214.64, and that's discounted from the list price of $299.95. It's got some fairly good (thought not universally so) reviews, but still. Three hundred dollars for one book? Yowsa!

Well, for those who do like the addition of a not-only-online textbook to round out their studies but don't want to spend quite that much on a single book, here are some more reasonably priced suggestions.

Chemistry: An Introduction to General, Organic, & Biological Chemistry (10th Edition) - starting used at $12.98.

Chemistry, 10th Edition - starting used at $9.00.

Chemistry: The Molecular Nature of Matter and Change - starting used at $8.69.

Foundations of College Chemistry - starting used at $6.99.

World of Chemistry: Essentials - starting used at $0.01

And this isn't a textbook, but I personally recommend it to anyone struggling with chemistry concepts:  Homework Helpers: Chemistry - starting used at $11.00. Or, you could purchase the previous edition here, starting used at just 1 cent. I actually have the first edition and found it to be an excellent resource for basic chemistry concepts.

I'm going to take a guess and say, as far as sciences go, chemistry isn't one of the more popular choices at the college level. I can usually find plenty of textbooks for a specific subject that are priced used for a few dollars or less. That obviously wasn't the case here. Please note that the above books are not listed in any particular order, and it's simple coincidence that they are priced in descending order. Also, I do not personally own all of them (only the World of Chemistry book and the Homework Helpers one), so I can't recommend them in particular. Use your own discretion if you decide to purchase anything. From what I saw, Foundations of College Chemistry had the most favorable reviews, aside from the well-deserved accolades for the Homework Helpers book.