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Old 05-31-2009, 08:40 PM
 
Location: Maryland's 6th District.
8,357 posts, read 25,260,617 times
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1. Any information that is contained in a textbook can be found in numerous places on the web.

2. If you dig deep enough you can find the needed textbook online, for free.

3. The textbook may be on reserve or available for check-out at the school library. My school is linked up to every library in the state. If my school does not have the book I want/need, another in the state will send it to me. My GF's school is connected to a similar system, but world-wide. If a book is found in Italy, it will get shipped, for free.

4. It has been my experience that textbooks are generally used as supplemental material for the student. I can only recall one course in which the book was crucial.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:09 PM
 
935 posts, read 2,412,930 times
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I'm working on a Master's Degree, and while a couple of times a paper I was working on ended up being a C instead of an A because I did not have the textbook to give me the correct format for a certain table (and it wasn't online); for the most part I have gotten along without a textbook. Then again, I'm doing my degree through a state college online and making A's in my courses. Recently I had to go without a book because 1) The library in my hometown did not have it via interlibrary loan (the University library does a scan for books that are being used for courses) and 2) I don't have the money to spend hundreds of dollars on books I may or may not need.

When I can get the books, I get it through interlibrary loan, scan the pages I'll need after the two-week time period, then return the book back to the library. Sometimes they've let me renew it for another two weeks. However, if you use interlibrary loan you have to be on your toes with renewing unless you do decide to scan all the pages and return it. I learned that trick from a friend of mine who was an international student living in the States. When I tried it, the library e-mailed me at first demanding why I'm requesting a textbook for this loan. I told her that it was for "research" and I would only need it for two week. Which was the truth, but it was for research in my classes . As others have mentioned, half.com is a good source, use outside libraries not affiliated with the college if you can, use past editions of books, and most of the time the internet is a good source of information (unless you have something very unique to research and format), but for someone that's not exactly pulling money out of their butt for books, I find ways around the greedy bookstore dealers (such as making friends with student bookstore workers who will e-mail you the ISBN numbers, borrowing a professor's book, etc.). I have a friend who worked at the college as a member of the faculty committee and the bookstore owners at a college that was KNOWN and PRAISED for accepting only lower-income intelligent students wanted to raise the markup price of books from 20% to 60%. If not for the faculty members stepping in and saying, "No! That is waaaaaaay too much," the bookstore would have went through with it. Plus, I don't think it's always the individual professors who decide what books to purchase. At my former school, it was the director of the program who decided on the books and usually the professors would end up being forced to teach with them (some professors did let students borrow books or told them about past editions b/c of this).
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Old 06-02-2009, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Kansas
3,855 posts, read 13,276,225 times
Reputation: 1734
Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.

Talk about shady business practices.

When I talked to the teacher about this he said he couldn't do anything because the administrators are the ones who decide on the books. He then told me to basically suck it up.
LOL oh yeah...definitely heard this kind of thing before.

Its nothing new...they did it when I was in school too. Some books are even written by the school faculty members....and you KNOW nobody else at other schools are going to want it when you're done.

What's especially lovely is when you go to sell back the books you no longer need and they offer you $5 for it because your department decided to switch books the next semester. LOL....I'd rather set it on fire than let them have a book for $5 that I paid in excess of $100 for.

Are you planning to take more calculus beyond this class. I had three levels of Calculus and all three used the same book. Plus given my feild of study the book was valueable beyond course I used it for.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:16 AM
 
Location: The Midst of Insanity
3,219 posts, read 7,087,878 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.

Talk about shady business practices.

When I talked to the teacher about this he said he couldn't do anything because the administrators are the ones who decide on the books. He then told me to basically suck it up.
I've noticed this as well-they also put out new editions every couple of years or so so you HAVE to buy the book brand-new...sometimes for $200 or more! There are times I could cry when I'm stuck with these textbooks I've spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on with no way of selling back or getting rid of on Ebay.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:53 AM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
3,007 posts, read 6,295,295 times
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To textbook or not to textbook--not so easy to decide. Depends on class, professor, and the student...and perhaps even the school.

I have classes where I had 100% downloadable articles and papers (really, the best stuff). Yet many students complained about the printing costs and the relatively lack of convenience. LOL! Go figure.

The best students I have invest in textbooks and "rent" other textbooks buy buying/selling on the secondary market. If I can I tried to use the older edition...but...that is not always easy.

I think for non-research universities or JC's, it would be MUCH easier to save the students $$ on textbooks, as the material is more basic or time invariant.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:27 AM
 
1,250 posts, read 4,789,895 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandpointian View Post
To textbook or not to textbook--not so easy to decide. Depends on class, professor, and the student...and perhaps even the school.

I have classes where I had 100% downloadable articles and papers (really, the best stuff). Yet many students complained about the printing costs and the relatively lack of convenience. LOL! Go figure.

The best students I have invest in textbooks and "rent" other textbooks buy buying/selling on the secondary market. If I can I tried to use the older edition...but...that is not always easy.

I think for non-research universities or JC's, it would be MUCH easier to save the students $$ on textbooks, as the material is more basic or time invariant.
Last semester I didn't purchase any textbooks and I managed to do very well (all As! ).

Its funny your students complain about printing costs and inconvenience. Spending $150 for a book I only use once is the epitome of costly and inconvenient. Spending a maximum of 10 cents a page to print material (or less if you have your own printer) is nothing to complain about.

A cool thing my school (Business school within the university) did was give all of the students $15 worth of free printing per semester. Printing at my school was 8 cents/page so $15 = 187 pages...more than enough for most students if they only print what they need.

Additionally, if a student has a laptop then printing the articles and papers may be unnecessary.
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Old 06-03-2009, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Sandpoint, Idaho
3,007 posts, read 6,295,295 times
Reputation: 3310
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540_804 View Post
Last semester I didn't purchase any textbooks and I managed to do very well (all As! ).

Its funny your students complain about printing costs and inconvenience. Spending $150 for a book I only use once is the epitome of costly and inconvenient. Spending a maximum of 10 cents a page to print material (or less if you have your own printer) is nothing to complain about.

A cool thing my school (Business school within the university) did was give all of the students $15 worth of free printing per semester. Printing at my school was 8 cents/page so $15 = 187 pages...more than enough for most students if they only print what they need.

Additionally, if a student has a laptop then printing the articles and papers may be unnecessary.
I was surprised, too. Imagine the content of 3 textbooks made available through slides and downloaded and then having complaints. Honestly, I had to laugh.


Too many love the tangibility of a textbook, like a security blanket.

I would have gone the printing route myself. Print out everything and then make a number of copies for friends. very cheap...

But I agree, best is electronic format. Less hassle and green to boot. Maybe I was head of my time...LOL!

S.
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Old 06-03-2009, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Chicago
6,025 posts, read 15,359,663 times
Reputation: 8153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandpointian View Post
To textbook or not to textbook--not so easy to decide. Depends on class, professor, and the student...and perhaps even the school.

I have classes where I had 100% downloadable articles and papers (really, the best stuff). Yet many students complained about the printing costs and the relatively lack of convenience. LOL! Go figure.

The best students I have invest in textbooks and "rent" other textbooks buy buying/selling on the secondary market. If I can I tried to use the older edition...but...that is not always easy.

I think for non-research universities or JC's, it would be MUCH easier to save the students $$ on textbooks, as the material is more basic or time invariant.
funny you should mention that b/c I had a few classmates in one class complain about printing costs. teacher asked whether they wanted to buy the $50+ book the selections came out of or pay the measly $0.50-$1/selection it costs to print them out (never mind the fact that in this class, we'd read stuff from multiple sources so it would have been really expensive to buy a $50 book just to read 2 stories from it!). I'm esp. grateful for any teacher that's willing to take the time to scan in items and print them out for students. in fact, best purchase I made was to get a cheap scanner and scan some pages in (yup, I'm a horrible, evil person to admit this, but I did buy a book, scan what I needed, then return it to get a refund. no worries, it was a used book to begin w/!). my major department offers cheap printing for students as well so there really shouldn't be people complaining, but of course there is!
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Old 06-10-2009, 09:18 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Texas, Finally!
5,478 posts, read 12,258,014 times
Reputation: 2832
I used to work in higher education. It has become a business, more focused on making money and increasing the student rolls, which is why you're sold on degrees in archeology and such. It has been my experience in the real world that although a degree opens doors, it is not the defining factor as to where or how far you will go in life. If you work in higher education, you need a masters degree to work in student outreach programs (basically a glorified babysitting position). Within the industry, emphasis is placed on the highest degree attainable when you're mostly serving students who are interested in putting their degree to work in real life. It's a strange little dichotomy and I don't feel I'm even explaining it correctly, and sorry to veer off topic, but yes.....it is a money making scam.
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:33 AM
 
Location: H-town, TX.
3,503 posts, read 7,509,358 times
Reputation: 2232
All that sucks. I've bought a handful of books at my school, but most everything has been verbatim out of the powerpoints the professors put together.

I have a few of those help guides that I bought cheap foor a few dollars each from a secondhand book store that should do the trick for me. Especially since most textbooks are overdone-- most of my professors agree on that point as well.
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