Textbooks are something we’ve all been familiar with for years, from our earliest days in school to where we are right now in college. Except the difference is that we have to pay for our college textbooks directly, and they can be pretty expensive.
Part of the reasoning for this is that textbooks are supposed to be more expensive to make than other books. The high gloss paper, charts, and other features cost more. It also does not cost schools or teachers much, if anything, to have their students buy $100-$300 textbooks. For teachers, it’s not coming out of their pockets. For schools, they make a business out of buying and selling textbooks, so they make a profit.
The other reason that textbooks are so high in cost, is of course, making money. According to publishers, the market for used textbooks has made them raise the prices for new textbooks. Some economists, however, don’t think that the publishing companies are affected as much as they claim.
Recent federal law requires that publishers notify professors of textbook prices and that schools inform students of necessary course texts during registration, so some actions have been taken to help students out.
Textbook renting has also become an option, something I myself have done and am very glad that I did because I saved some money that I can use to buy or rent other textbooks. In fact, it may be a more practical option than buying books at all, considering that textbooks are made so that they can be used temporarily, sold back, and then used again, repeating this process over and over.
Something I like even more is something that a friend of mine who goes to Blue Ridge Community and Technical College in Martinsburg got: electronic text. For his class, he got to download the 87 pages of text needed for free. They only used the pages of the book relevant to the class, and the ones they did use were downloaded electronically at no cost.
A friend of mine who recently graduated from Shepherd would like to see electronic textbooks in full use. Only use the pages you need from a textbook, and have all your textbooks on one device. It’s an incredible increase in efficiency, and a great reduction in costs.
Another advantage would be that the texts would be far more up-to-date than the ones we’re using now. Instead of having a text book that’s over 10 years old (I’ve seen this before), you’d have one that’s new. And what’s better is that since it would be electronic, it could also be possible to update whenever a new edition comes out, rather than all the other editions being rendered useless and schools having to buy new books.
I really think that electronic texts will be the textbooks of the future if we allow them to be so. I’m hoping that our current system will become antiquated sooner rather than later. Just imagine not having to have multiple books to lug around; perhaps there will even been electronic rentals or stations.
Overall, I’d really like to see Shepherd take initiative with advancing education and the way we do it. Personally, I don’t think that will happen, and places like Blue Ridge will start to lead the way as far as innovation goes. If this occurs, maybe Shepherd will start to be more competitive.
Advancing this kind of technology will advance students and learning, making everything more efficient and cost effective, although it will take time, money, and sacrifice.