September 14, 2015
I walked through my college book store and was in a state of price tag shock. World regional geography review book: $98. Physics textbook: $114. Anatomy and physiology text with nice diagrams: $188. A book for economics: $126. The expensive book about economics made me laugh because I made a decision not to buy it using theories right from the book. This was me in 2003, still finishing my undergrad. I wanted to compare prices in the book store to what I could get online. I was blown away because I could get the same book on Amazon or E-bay for 50% less. Some of my school mates from China and India even scoffed at that. A girl from Beijing told me she got a finance text book for $19…….$19. It retailed for $138. I was floored, but reminded that there is always a better deal somewhere.
Buying books online was a great way to save money in 2003. But at the end of the day, I still had to buy a book that would become obsolete after a new edition was published. Plus I’d have to lug around unnecessary weight and take up valuable desk space in the classroom. Not to mention all the resources used to create a book in the first place. But now there is a new alternative. Electronic Books are becoming a better option to traditional books. The New York Times featured a great article about the issue of college books and makes a great addition to the ongoing Revolution of Technology topic.
It’s the 21st century; knowledge delivery has expanded into the realm of the digital. Shouldn’t college textbooks catch up to this already? Flash forward to 2015 and a lot of things are still the same. Colleges reveal their inability to adapt and provide by not updating their method of delivery. Take a walk through a college bookstore and all those books are even more expensive. But some professors are moving to e-books.
The popularity of e-books is growing. E-books in the general market have seen a 200% increase in sales this year. The next big move should be in the classrooms where the cost of educational books could be radically reduced. Higher Ed charges too high a price not to innovate their teaching methods. Encouraging students to use digital based books in the classroom is the only logical step.
Colleges have no problem telling students to pay $700 -$1,000 a semester for books, but an E-Book reader can go for $200 and last all the years of college. No longer do students need to be concerned with buying overly expensive books and then selling them back at the end of the semester. There would be no outdated books because the newest version can be easily downloaded. No more costs of carrying inventory at a book store. No more wasting time on a book store line only to find out it was the wrong edition. Plus a digital device can hold millions of pages in the palm of the hand. When all of these excessive costs are removed from the price of a book, the student can get the knowledge they need at a fraction of the cost with minimized waste. With the cost of college as high as it is, there is no excuse. It is a disservice not to innovate and provide superior value to students.
Until the time comes for colleges to adopt modern techniques, most college students will have to settle for old-fashioned text books. Here are some textbook tips:
1. Don’t buy books!
Hold off on buying books for classes until you are absolutely sure of its need or use. This will vary from class to class. Some professors will list six or seven books on the syllabus as required for class but by the end of the semester only two were used. What a waste. Save your money and buy books only as necessary.
2. Maximize other resources
To avoid having to buy books you should use other alternatives. Utilize your library, or the internet for scholarly resources. Buying a whole book just to use one quote is a waste too. Chances are you can find whatever knowledge you need from a free source to complete whatever report or project is due.
3. Any books you buy should be put to use
Whether the book is on paper or electronic form, learning begins with your motivation. You should avoid waste and save money, but do not skimp on your learning experience.
4. If you have to buy a book, buy it online
The bookstore at school is ALWAYS more expensive.
5. Try renting a textbook for the semester
This can cut costs dramatically. There are a number of textbook rental websites available online now, so get out there and look for a deal!
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