As a college student in these economic times, the burden of textbook costs is a big one. Aside from my ridiculous electronics budget, textbooks are the biggest wallet-drainer I’ve got right now. Naturally, every time I go online to check what I’ll need for my classes, the word Required next to a title always makes me cringe. The worst part is: I rarely need my textbooks.
One of my professors runs great lectures, and due to his extensive knowledge of the content, he doesn’t use a textbook. On the first exam, there were only two (of fifty) questions that came from the textbook. This was obviously slightly annoying, as I had spent quite a bit of time outside of class reading the book and it yielded very few results. When I approached the professor about this, he openly admitted not using the textbook much, saying “I don’t really use the books, I just require books that were written by friends.”
Oh thanks, Professor! In the failing economy, let’s milk some of the most notoriously broke people in the nation (college students) for money, then give it to who? College professors! Sure, they’re not all making six digits a year, but they’re getting paid by their universities and their publishers. What am I doing? Paying them five digits a year so that I can further feed their scalp-polish fund. Oh yeah, that’s fair. But wait, there’s more! When I graduate, the social security out of my paycheck will pay for their retirement.
So how about this? Professors have to pay (from their budget) the bookstore to stock every book that they require. Maybe then, they wouldn’t be so cavalier about what is “required.” I need my computer fixed, more RAM put in, new shoes (for my real feet – not computer related), a trash can for my room, and I don’t know, pants would be nice. But no – I buy none of those things, because I spent $500+ on books this semester.
Sure the textbook industry is struggling with the advent of online materials and technological advances in teaching, but don’t dump the burden on college students. We’re already paying out billions of dollars a year (a number that is rising) in tuition.
Maybe I should sign up for a shoe-making class…