It seems that every year Jay Devore writes to the paper to comment on expensive textbooks. As always, Devore puts the blame on used copies of books driving the prices of new books up. What Devore fails to mention is that professors have every option to assign inexpensive alternatives to “required” books that many students may never crack open except to do homework problems each week. Do 100 and 200-level classes really require a $100 textbook on simple subjects (e.g., statistics) when one can purchase $10 to $20 books that teach the same concepts just as clearly for one-fifth of the price? Not to mention, said textbooks are likely not written by the professor teaching the course (negating the potential conflict-of-interests), offering students a different approach to a subject so that they might better understand the problems they face.
Consider this a call to arms for students fed up with textbook prices: Keep buying used textbooks. Do what you can to obtain books from the Library Reserve Room or copy the essentials of problems out of a peer’s textbook. Figure out if the textbook is really providing you with novel information not covered in lecture or if you’re being charged additional course fees to do required homework assignments to fill some professor’s coffers. Textbooks should be a useful resource, not a second tuition to supplement professor salaries.
Computer science senior