Thursday, August 26, 2004

I am peeved

Dicho y Hecho, beginning level Spanish textbook Posted by Hello

I know it'll come as a shock, but something's been really stuck in my craw. College textbooks have balloooned to outrageous prices. I don't actually pay for my books, so it's not about the money. But for those who have to struggle with finances, these books can really wreak havoc. This semester was relatively inexpensive. My books cost a little over $300. Most of mine were used and I didn't need any hardbacks. Still, for a year, that comes to $600. And I'm sure that books will begin to get more expensive.

The buy-back rates are hardly worth the benefit. I'd rather keep a book than sell it back for 1/4 of the original price. I only sell back books that I have literally no interest of ever having to see again. I'll likely keep most of my Communication and Political Science books after the semester ends. One option is to put texts on ebay. My cousin told me that he gets $25 a pop for his old textbooks.

What, you might ask, is my major beef? Well, it's the needless updates that are done nearly every year for college texts. I can understand some subjects that need updating. I sure as hell don't want a book still calls the Soviet Union a country Saddam Hussein President of Iraq. But there needs to be some sort of moderation. We don't need a new volume each and every year. It's more of an annoyance than anything. Most teachers let you use the older volumes. The result is that different students have varying page numbers.

I haven't seen it yet, but I hear that things get more outrageous as you get higher up. Sometimes a teacher has written his or her own text and forces students to buy it. I'd love to address this as a news story for my JOU 3101 class. Maybe I'd be shocked and discover that textbook makers have a valid reason for their actions. More likely, they're just one of many groups of greedy Americans who gouge an unsuspecting public.


Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

Yeah I agree with the vast majority of this. Textbooks are usually updated with "new editions" every other semester and so selling back the books is usually very hard to do. If I've got 7 books for a semester I usually succeed in selling maybe 4 of those back.

And I have had professors who write their own textbooks. Nothing is more arrogant. Not only are you making the big bucks but you are also assuming yourself to be such an authority on a given topic that you make your students listen to you AND read you.

Still, I'm a slave to the textbooks. I buy them like a mindless robot every semester.

August 27, 2004 at 1:04 PM  

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