Monday, January 10, 2011

Vintage Textbooks: This Season's Must-Have

I feel compelled to talk about textbooks. Textbooks are not very fun or exciting. Textbooks are basically just expensive. Reading a textbook is about as enjoyable as reading the ingredient list on a shampoo bottle. Except, I would probably enjoy reading the shampoo bottle more.

If it is not yet evident, I am a little bitter about the amount of money I spent on my required course readings for this academic quarter. (Ah, the woes of a college student.) I am not the first to complain about the price of textbooks, nor will I be the last. Until textbook publishers and university book stores become aware of the extensively greater uses for college students' money (shoes, clothes, vacation funds, etc.), college students will continue to whine -- and rightfully so.

My solution for mitigating the cost of textbooks, besides not buying them unless absolutely essential, is to buy them used. I like used textbooks for a number of reasons. First and most obvious, they are cheaper than new textbooks. Second, I think it makes the book more interesting. College book stores are like a literature lost and found. New owners and old owners come and go, take what they need and return what they don't. In the middle of that sequence of events, the beholder of a textbook (hopefully) reads the book, imbibes some knowledge and, if the new owner is lucky, leaves very good notes in the margin. The book suddenly becomes exceptionally more interesting. When perusing an old textbook, it is fun to draw conclusions about the previous owner according to their book usage. Did they color code their highlights? Did they dog ear their pages? Did they tear out pages? These are all fun questions to ponder and pondering them is obviously more fun than actually reading the book. Further, used textbooks can be beneficial to a person's grade. As I stated earlier, used textbook purchasers can highly benefit from the footnotes of previous owners. Also, the important sections in used textbooks are usually already marked. This is great. this ensures that the new user does not waste precious time reading fillers. Unfortunately, blind reliance on the intelligence of a past user can be risky. As for me, I trust all Ohio University students and will gladly let their neon yellow highlighters show me the way.

As it turns out, the previous owner of my Journalism 233; Information Gathering textbook felt only the first two chapters were of importance. Looks like it is going to be easy reading for me this quarter.
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