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Thread: College textbooks?

  1. #16
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by BillDoran View Post
    I'd suggest looking into renting textbooks. I'd provide a link or two, but there are numerous reputable renters. You can find most texts for under $50, many as little as $10 or so.

    I'd also encourage your son to consider the library. Whether it's through reserves or intra-library loans, many books can be had for no cost. There's a lack of convenience with this route, but with enough ingenuity, lots of money to be saved.
    I wouldn't, most of the time the renting costs were as much as just outright buying them and you wouldn't be able to resell or keep them.
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  3. #17
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    Re: College textbooks?

    I'm in grad school and have had pretty good luck with Amazon. Look for an edition or two older, and click on the used link for it.

  4. #18
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by RBA View Post
    How about when they make you buy the edition printed for that specific university/college? Something like History, Part 1 Greendale Community College Edition. It's a scam.
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  6. #19
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Thanks for the excellent suggestions. This is our third child that has gone through college, but this one is seems to be more expensive. He is also the most absent minded.

    He no longer rents because he has spilled beverages on them in the past and even had one bent out of shape by his spare tire. He ended up using his Christmas money to pay for them.

    One he needs has found a way to stop the used route. In order to access the internet link for the book, he had to buy the new text. I don't really know how that works.

    Waiting is a good idea, but he has fallen behind in a class or two when the professors have made first week textbook assignments. He actually is waiting with his other classes and has in the past.

    I wish someone would do something about regulating the college text prices. It does seem to me they unfairly take advantage of the student.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

  7. #20
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I always enjoy the professors who write their own book, then it sells for $150.

    The prices of college textbooks is simply put, a joke. They know you"must" have them, so they can charge whatever they want. And they do.
    During my last year of college, I took a column writing class that was taught by Paul Daugherty, the very same Paul Daugherty who's been writing for the Enquirer for a couple decades now. The "book" for his class was his actual book, Fair Game, which had a retail price of around $25. We bought the book directly off him via cash only transactions, and I can't remember what we paid, but it may have been $20 (it wasn't more than the retail price).

    Anyway, he gave us one explanation why we were using his book for class and that explanation was simply, in his words, "it lines my pocket."

    We appreciated the honesty, and given that most textbooks ran $100, we appreciated an inexpensive book.
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  9. #21
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Is your son being tested on or given assignments that can only be completed by accessing the online bonus content? I've never taken a class where the online bonus access has been relevant or exclusive at all. It's usually a lame interactive slider or sample quizzes.
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  10. #22
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Schuler View Post
    Is your son being tested on or given assignments that can only be completed by accessing the online bonus content? I've never taken a class where the online bonus access has been relevant or exclusive at all. It's usually a lame interactive slider or sample quizzes.
    Each text comes with an access code that can only be used once. Apparently, the assignments mostly come from the internet link. My wife did the ordering on-line and researched ordering used editions. She is a retired librarian and is pretty good at doing the research on books. Anyway, she was convinced that the new edition was the safest way to go.
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  11. #23
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Wow. Who needs to come up with a lesson plan when you can just have your students pay a textbook company for a curriculum?
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  12. #24
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    Re: College textbooks?

    I'm a professor and I approve of this thread. Lot's of good suggestions here. The textbook game is indeed a racket. It's not totally devoid of good qualities, but there are a lot of bad ones. I'm doing my best to opt out as best I can but there are some restraints.

    Part of the problem is that the companies do provide valuable services that make the professor's life a bit easier; but the cost is completely borne by the students. For example, one of my biggest struggles is just getting the students to read the damn text. You can assign reading all you want, but if there isn't a direct consequence like a reading quiz they will not do it. Most books now come with an online portal for reading quizzes using questions that have been vetted by other professors etc. This helps to allow someone like me to focus attention on what I can do best which to form a kick-ass lecture, read written work and other assignments I've created. But it comes at a cost because the companies only provide the web services for the newest editions. Right now the book I use in my introductory class has a new edition of the just released an it runs about $150. Up until now I sort of just went with it because it was my favorite book and as a younger faculty member the pressure is on publishing-so any time spent on practical solutions for students is on the backburner, because I'm just trying to stay employed. But this edition and its cost was the last straw, so when this one came out I assigned the 4th instead of the 5th edition and created my own quizzes that I use blackboard to administer. That took a bunch of extra time, but I'm very happy I did it. My students now get a textbook almost as good and can pay between $4 and $10 for a used copy online.

    Now for online classes it's a different story. It will be quite awhile before I will be able to fully create my own system that gets me away from the textbook site (which is actually very good). I have it as a long term goal, but it will have to be after tenure is achieved.

    My upper level classes either use very cheap books I've selected or I scan or link all the articles so students pay very little.

    I will also admit to being a beneficiary of the textbook racket. As alluded to before, the second hand market is huge for textbooks, and the buyback people are wolves on my campus. I get solicited every single week by these bastards wanting to take the books off my hands. And that is where I learned that any books I want to sell, I need to do myself on half.com to make any money. So the advice I will give is that no matter what for those buying books, including if you are forced to purchase new copies is to never, ever deal with the campus bookstore - especially for buybacks. Sell them yourself online. New editions will still be worth quite a bit in the following year if you directly sell so that something like 50 to 75% of the cost can be recouped. It's all profit for me, because these companies just randomly send me books hoping I'll adopt them. Well I'm not looking for new textbooks so I just turn around and sell them.

    As for going to the dean to complain about the professor not using the book. If it's a research institution they aren't going to give a rip. Those deans only care about the publishing and funding you are generating. YOu might have more luck that route if it's a teaching school.

    I really like the purchasing a single copy in groups suggestion and I'm personally interested in the copy on reserve in the library. I'll have to do that one, and I"m not sure why I haven't before.

    I would also add to check with the professor ahead of time and see how important it is to purchase the latest edition. They may tell you right up front that the last one is just fine.
    Last edited by Spazzrico; 01-08-2014 at 11:15 PM.

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  14. #25
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Schuler View Post
    Wow. Who needs to come up with a lesson plan when you can just have your students pay a textbook company for a curriculum?
    Exactly, and as more universities push online teaching it's only going to get worse.

  15. #26
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    Re: College textbooks?

    I buy as many extextbooks as i can. At amazon you can sign up for a student prime membership with a valid edu email. As a member you get huge discounts on texts, software and free two day shipping.

    Most of their textbooks have an option to try the ebook for free for 7 days (if youre unsure if professor will use), or rent for the entire semester. A 130 dollar book i needed i was able to get for like 17 dollars. A decent tablet and the kindle app is all you need.

    Obv not all books should be bought as an ebook but for most its fine.

  16. #27
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stray View Post
    I buy as many extextbooks as i can. At amazon you can sign up for a student prime membership with a valid edu email. As a member you get huge discounts on texts, software and free two day shipping.

    Most of their textbooks have an option to try the ebook for free for 7 days (if youre unsure if professor will use), or rent for the entire semester. A 130 dollar book i needed i was able to get for like 17 dollars. A decent tablet and the kindle app is all you need.

    Obv not all books should be bought as an ebook but for most its fine.
    Be sure to cancel it immediately upon graduation, they drove up everything on a classmate of mine after he graduated.
    Quote Originally Posted by moewan View Post
    Barmaid to patron "Sir you are slurring, I am going to have to cut you off"

    Patron to barmaid "I'm not slurring, I'm speaking in cursive"


  17. #28
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    Re: College textbooks?

    I'm in grad school and have stopped buying the textbooks. Most of my classes have a required textbook that ends up being very lightly used. Basically anything that we need to know gets covered by the professor in class, so there's no point in reading the textbook.

    I was actually in a class this semester where the syllabus said that we had to read the textbook and be prepared to discuss it for each class. The textbook was written by the professor and cost $230, so I dropped it right after the first class. I didn't need it to graduate and was just taking it because I thought it might be interesting.

  18. #29
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyder View Post
    Be sure to cancel it immediately upon graduation, they drove up everything on a classmate of mine after he graduated.
    Really? I'll be sure to do that. Thanks for the tip.

  19. #30
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    Re: College textbooks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slyder View Post
    Be sure to cancel it immediately upon graduation, they drove up everything on a classmate of mine after he graduated.
    It just goes up from $40/year to $80/year right? At $80/year it's still a great bargain even if you only use Amazon occasionally. Free streaming Movies and TV Shows, one free kindle book per month, and free 2 day shipping.


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