The dependence of the intersubband absorption spectra on the Coulomb interaction and quantum well (QW) width is studied. Rather than following the Fermi–Dirac distribution, we have solved the intersubband equations of motion to determine the subband population self-consistently. We have gone beyond the linear absorption theory to show the effect of various many-body interactions on the absorption spectra. It is found that the redistribution of electrons in excited states reduces the absorption. Our results indicate that the line shape and peak position are determined by the interplay of different collective excitations, such as the Fermi edge singularity and the intersubband plasmon. The dependence of the absorption spectrum on the QW width and the subband effective masses is also discussed.