Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


Midway through class today, a student told me he had lost the course textbook: The Associated Press Stylebook. It's the only book I require for this particular course. "Good thing it's only a $20 book as opposed to a $150 book for a literature class," I said, trying to ballpark an outrageous price.

As it turned out, my guess about a $150 book fell well short.

"My book for Italian cost me $300," he said.

College textbooks: What a racket. Overall, the prices for college textbooks lie somewhere between price-gouging and criminal.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 27th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Not only that, but how about when the newest edition is required, even though the publisher made only cursory changes to the previous edition, and to the edition before that, and the edition before that. A racket, indeed.

Sep. 27th, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
More thievery.
Sep. 27th, 2011 02:26 pm (UTC)
This quarter our program spent over $8K on books for our students - and that was only for the students without their financial aid in place. One student had $700 worth of books for a computer class - not including the software. It is criminal.
Sep. 27th, 2011 10:43 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, the bookstore usually is willing to buy them back at the end of the semester—for pennies on the dollar. And then the book-sellers peddle the used books at prices that allow for a bountiful return on those pennies. It's unconscionable.
Sep. 27th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
Tell me about it =_=;; Worse yet - my dad's written a couple of comp sci textbooks, which are said to be super popular in many universities, but you wouldn't know it from the royalty checks he gets. He's paid cents per textbook sold.

Sep. 27th, 2011 10:45 pm (UTC)
The money goes out of the students' pockets and into the book publishers' pockets, with the bookstore taking a nice slice too. It's disappointing—although I should have expected it—that the authors get ripped off too.
Sep. 27th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
I do my best to require cheap(er) books for students, but I am remarkably frustrated with department requirements...for instance, I am required to require a $100+ grammar activity book that most students will not read or use. Why not just a simple, small handbook in the $50 range that can be used for more than one course? I mean, I'm a grammar nerd and even I won't find use for every detail in that book. I can't believe that other instructors are using it cover-to-cover.

I still have my AP Stylebook, by the way. How does one lose such a valuable resource?
Sep. 27th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
You're right: Grammar handbooks aren't exactly on the must-reading list for students. And you're right again when you say that even grammar nerds like us won't care about everything in those books. Instructors need to be realistic.

I'm using the Little, Brown Essentials Handbook in 110 this semester. I have a feeling it still cost around $40 or $50 (no more than that, I hope), but it's considerable cheaper than the full edition of LB. And I don't require a reader; they're typically much pricier than they should be.

I was delighted when the new AP Stylebook came out because I could bring my old one (2009) home. The JMC buys the stylebook for me, but I'm going to look into an electronic version when the next edition comes out.
Sep. 28th, 2011 08:52 am (UTC)
Nigel had the option of renting his texts for a huge savings. That way, I assume, the bookstores are assured that students will take better care of them.
Also, at NYU's bookstore, a lot of the course's shelves were empty except for a sign that said, "All texts for this course must be purchased in e-reader format."

Sep. 28th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
It's probably because I'm an old fart, but I couldn't rent a course textbook because I mark them up when I go through them: highlights, notes in the margins, underlining, etc.

Electronic texts will be fully upon us in five years or even less, I'm thinking. Production costs will be minimal (as opposed to buying all that paper and ink), so publishers will be able (or should be able) to lower the price to the students while getting even fatter margins out of it.
Sep. 28th, 2011 03:22 pm (UTC)
I've always had a huge problem paying full price for text books. I think I bought maybe two textbooks from the actual campus bookstore while at Bonas; usually I opted for half.com, amazon or a similar site. Typically, I could get away with a hundred or so for all of my books instead of one of them. It always boggled my mind when I saw students buying all of theirs at the bookstore for five or six times that much, at least. I wish there was some way students could be tipped off about that at orientation, since I think a lot don't really think about the textbook mark-up or that most of them (yes, even new editions) can be had for much, much cheaper online.

And I hear you on marking up my textbooks, pjv. Most of mine are all colorful, scribbled-over and dog-eared by semester's end. Full of personality.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

March 2017

Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow