Tag Archives: Books

Why textbooks cost so much

19 Aug

As the cost of a college education rises, everyone is looking at ways to reduce cost so that more students are not priced out of a college education. Allen Grove has a good article at About.Com which gives some reasons for Why College Books Cost So Much? http://collegeapps.about.com/od/payingforcollege/f/college-books-cost.htm The Economist wrote in the article, Why textbooks cost so much:

STUDENTS can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics”—even if they don’t read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteenfold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation (see chart).
Like doctors prescribing drugs, professors assigning textbooks do not pay for the products themselves, so they have little incentive to pick cheap ones. Some assign books they have written themselves…
But hope is not lost for poor scholars. Foreign editions are easy to find online and often cheaper—sometimes by over 90%. Publishers can be litigious about this, but in 2013 the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have the right to buy and resell copyrighted material obtained legally. Many university bookstores now let students rent books and return them. Publishers have begun to offer digital textbooks, which are cheaper but can’t be resold…. http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21612200-its-economics-101-why-textbooks-cost-so-much?fsrc=email_to_a_friend

There are ways to cut down the cost associated with college text books. If possible, one can buy used texts. Another way to cut costs is to rent texts. Rhiana Jones’ article Top Three Online Sites to Rent College Texts At a Discount https://suite.io/rhiana-jones/3v8p2sv compares three text rental sites. Paul Michael has some tips for going online to find discounted texts at How to Find the Cheapest College Textbooks http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-the-cheapest-college-textbooks

The Affordable College Textbook Act has been kicking around Congress for a few years. SPARC summarizes the provisions:

The Affordable College Textbook Act seeks to expand the use of open textbooks on college campuses, providing affordable alternatives to traditional textbooks and keeping prices lower. The bill:
• Creates a grant program to support pilot programs at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for those programs that will achieve the highest savings for students.
• Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using program funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public.
• Requires entities who receive funds to complete a report on the effectiveness of the program in achieving savings for students.
• Improves existing requirements for publishers to make all textbooks and other educational materials available for sale individually rather than as a bundle.
• Requires the Government Accountability Office to provide an updated report on the price trends of college textbooks to Congress by 2017.
Supporters: SPARC, U.S. PIRG, National Association of College Stores, National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, American Association of State Colleges and Universities, American Association of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees, OUR TIME, Creative Commons, OpenCourseWare Consortium. – See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/act#sthash.hdtGL4DP.dpuf http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/act

Passage of the act might help many, but its passage is not assured.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy wrote in the Money Watch article, College Textbooks: 7 Ways to Save Money:

Before you shop for college textbooks, here are my seven tips to find the cheapest textbooks around:
1. Comparison shop.
You can use BIGWORDS.com and Campusbooks.com, which are textbook aggregators, that can direct you to college textbook sellers are offering the lowest prices. BIGWORDS, for instance, aggregates all the web’s options on any book, whether new, used or rentals. Two popular places for textbooks are Half.com and Amazon.
2. Use old editions.
You will often be able to pick up some old editions of textbooks super cheap and sometimes for pennies on the dollar. The content in the 5th edition of a chemistry book versus the 7th edition could be inconsequential. Ask your professors if you aren’t sure about buying an old textbook.
3. Consider renting textbooks.
The big gorilla in the textbook rental market is Chegg. Other competitors include BookRenter.com and CampusBookRental.com. ValoreBooks offers free shipping for rentals over $20. Some campus bookstores are also renting textbooks to students.
Renting won’t always be cheaper than buying a used copy — particularly if you can resell the college book, but it can be a godsend if you’re strapped for cash. Check prices.
4. Look for coupons.
Before you buy textbooks online, see if you can find a promotional coupon. Check out CouponWinner.com, PromoCodes.com and PromotionalCodes.com.
5. Share a book.
My daughter, who is a college senior, has done this in the past. She’s shared textbooks with one or two of her friends and saved big bucks.
6. Try international editions of books.
According to Textbooksrus.com, it’s possible to save 75% on international editions of textbooks.
7. Look for books before school starts.
According to a new federal law, textbook publishers must provide students with the list of required textbooks during registration. You’ll have more options if you don’t wait until you arrive at school to order. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/college-textbooks-7-ways-to-save-money/

The cost of textbooks is just one of the costs associated with going to college. See, Tuition is only the beginning of college costs https://drwilda.com/2013/08/15/tuition-is-only-the-beginning-of-college-costs/


Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying

For Many Students, Print Is Still King

Affordable College Textbook Act Would Help Students, But Publishers Aren’t Hearing It http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2014/03/affordable_college_textbook_ac.php


Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?

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The 08/10/13 Joy Jar

9 Aug

Moi has got a list of children’s books that she will be reviewing for her blog. She is looking forward to reviewing the books and she is glad that there are so many good books for children and adults. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are really great children’s books.

“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”
C.S. Lewis

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“Anything can become a children’s book if you give it to a child…Children are actually the best (and worst) audience for literature because they have no patience with pretence.”
Orson Scott Card

“As you read my stories of long ago I hope you will remember that the things that are truly worthwhile and that will give you happiness are the same now as they were then. Courage and kindness, loyalty, truth, and helpfulness are always the same and always needed.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

“~Reading a book is like looking through a window!”
Zetta Hupf

“Every child deserves to be read to. It is a great bonding time for you and your baby.”
Abha C.

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
Lemony Snicket

“Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested throughly.”
Cornelia Funk

“There is more treasure in books, than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”
Walt Disney

“The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.”
-Mark Twain

“When you sell a man a book you don’t sell just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.”
Christopher Morley

“We read to know we are not alone.”
C.S. Lewis

“Don’t just teach your children to read…
Teach them to question what they read.
Teach them to question everything.”
George Carlin

The 05/20/13 Joy Jar

19 May


Moi loves thumbing through books in the sale bin. It is a bit like panning for gold in a river. Quite often moi takes home several jewels which appeal to her even if they did not appeal to other people. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a book. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are those lonely little books in the sale bin waiting for people to take them home.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Thomas Jefferson

The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.
Abraham Lincoln

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
Maya Angelou

Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover his own.

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.
Oscar Wilde

I am mortified to be told that, in the United States of America, the sale of a book can become a subject of inquiry, and of criminal inquiry too.
Thomas Jefferson

He that composes himself is wiser than he that composes a book.
Benjamin Franklin

There is no friend as loyal as a book.
Ernest Hemingway

You cannot open a book without learning something.

Ryerson University Study: Some students are resisting to switch to e-texts

25 Feb

Moi is not the only OLD FART in existence. It seems some students are resisting the change to digital or e-texts. Rich Diehl writes in the Techcitement article, Studies Claim Students Prefer Traditional Paper Textbooks Over E-texts:

All of this begs the question, if e-books are cheaper than paper books, let alone more useful for allowing students to access them at will and have the added benefits of searchable text with other ancillaries, why is it that students not only don’t want them, but are going to some lengths to actively avoid them?

The answer seems to be that just possibly, at least in the case of education, the good old paper book retains several advantages over e-books that continue to make them a better tool for education. Despite the initial higher price paper books are seen as a better value for students.

Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, and Bettina West of Canada’s Ryerson University have published “The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks”, the results of a study looking into the continuing resistance toward e-texts in the fall 2012 issue of the Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education. Their study indicates that despite the supposed advantages of e-books, a large  majority of students participating in the study found paper texts preferable for studying. For the technology minded, the claims made by the study participants might seem counter-intuitive, yet the results consistently had subjects stating that paper texts were superior for highlighting, adding notes, bookmarking, and most surprisingly, search, which are all functions that e-books tout as reasons the platform is superior.

Another surprising finding is that the vast majority of subjects stated that the use of e-text was inconvenient compared to paper. Claiming that they felt constrained by the requirements for a specific brand of reader, the need for special software, and mentioned most often, the need for a power source, students consistently stated they felt that they had more control over their learning experience with paper then they did with e-text.

The Ryerson study also supports the conclusions of several other recent reports on the use of e-texts including Sheila O’Hare and Andrew Smith’s 2012 study for the Kansas Library Association of College and University Libraries, “The Customer is Always Right? Resistance from College Students to E-Books as Textbooks”.  O’Hare and Smith’s studies indicates that the brain processes how we read and learn from paper differently than we do for e-text. Research shows that in the case of paper, students tend to completely read a page, while in the case of e-text, the text is read more sporadically, with the student “dipping” into the text instead of full immersion. http://techcitement.com/hardware/tablet/studies-claim-students-prefer-traditional-paper-textbooks-over-e-texts/#.USxelvKjZPQ

See, Study: College Students Resist Idea of Switching to E-Books http://www.educationnews.org/technology/study-college-students-resist-idea-of-switching-to-e-books/


Joanne McNeish, Mary Foster, Anthony Francescucci, Bettina West

The Surprising Foil to Online Education: Why Students Won’t Give Up Paper Textbooks

Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, Volume 20, Issue 3, Fall 2012


Moi wrote in A textbook ain’t what it used to be:

Jeffrey R. Davis writes in TheChronicle of Higher Education article, The Object Formerly Known as the Textbook:

Textbook publishers argue that their newest digital products shouldn’t even be called “textbooks.” They’re really software programs built to deliver a mix of text, videos, and homework assignments. But delivering them is just the beginning. No old-school textbook was able to be customized for each student in the classroom. The books never graded the homework. And while they contain sample exam questions, they couldn’t administer the test themselves.

One publisher calls its products “personalized learning experiences,” another “courseware,” and one insists on using its own brand name, “MindTap.” For now, this new product could be called “the object formerly known as the textbook….”

Amid all this change, the lines separating publisher, professor, university, and software company are blurring: The blockbuster textbooks of tomorrow could be produced not by publishers but directly by universities, maybe with the help of MOOC companies like Coursera or Udacity. http://chronicle.com/article/Dont-Call-Them-Textbooks/136835/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en


Students Get Savvier About Textbook Buying http://chronicle.com/article/Students-Get-Savvier-About/136827/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

For Many Students, Print Is Still King http://chronicle.com/article/For-Many-Students-Print-Is/136829/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en


All one can say is that the question is not what will happen to the textbook, but where is information delivery to students going and what will be the format or formats.


Are open-source textbooks becoming a viable alternative to traditional texts?                                                                     https://drwilda.com/2012/08/12/are-open-source-textbooks-becoming-a-viable-alternative-to-traditional-texts/

Could ‘open source’ textbooks be cheaper than traditional textbooks?                                                              https://drwilda.com/2012/01/17/could-open-source-textbooks-be-cheaper-than-traditional-textbooks/

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The 01/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Jan

Moi has been attending the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Several times a week, she goes to the main branch of the Seattle Public Library. It always feels like home. The main library is in the middle of a very diverse city. In fact, moi often says the only places where all classes of people in Seattle meet regularly are the library and the dollar store. Some people who visit the library have issues like mental illness and may be in the throes of some substance. A couple of times moi was at the library and a person had a meltdown. The librarians always try to treat people with dignity and courtesy, no matter who you are. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are librarians.

Most people don’t realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn’t value its librarians doesn’t value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Don’t mark up the Library’s copy, you fool! Librarians are Unprankable. They’ll track you down! They have skills!”
Charles Ogden

The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
Bruce Coville

To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in the Dust.”
Rick Riordan,
The Red Pyramid

Good librarians are natural intelligence operatives. They possess all of the skills and characteristics required for that work: curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memories, organization and analytical aptitude, and discretion.”
Marilyn Johnson,
This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim.”
Linton Weeks

When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.”
Joan Bauer

2013 ALA Seattle: Midwinter Meeting: Librarians as guardians of public knowledge

25 Jan

Moi is attending the Seattle Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) and that causes moi to reflect about the role of libraries and librarians in preserving public knowledge. Margaret Jackubcin of Southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune gives ten excellent reasons why libraries are important to a community.

  1. Public libraries are good for the economy.

  2. Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy.

  3. Libraries play an important role in helping young children develop reading skills.

  4. Public libraries provide support to schools and students.

  5. Libraries are forward- thinking, and play an important role at the cutting edge of information technology.

  6. Libraries are repositories of the accumulated understanding of mankind.

  7. Public libraries are a bargain.

  8. Libraries provide a neutral community gathering place for the free exchange of ideas, culture, and entertainment.

  9. A vital and attractive library helps define a community, encourages civic pride, and invests residents with a sense of ownership.

  10. Libraries are the heart and soul of a community and reflect the value residents place on literacy, education, culture, and freedom.

Key to the success of libraries are librarians.

The ALA has a great description of what librarians do:

Me, a librarian?

It’s not every day that you find a job that can make a world of difference in people’s lives. Libraries have been empowering people by offering resources, services and training to expand their knowledge for thousands of years. Consider joining the 400,000 librarians and library workers who bring opportunity every day to the communities they serve.

While there’s no magic test that will tell you if a library career is right for you, there are many characteristics and values that librarians and library workers share:

  • Enjoy helping and serving other people 
  • Interested in developing and providing services, resources and materials that inform and entertain, such as books, movies, music, storytelling, websites, local history, databases, and puppets 
  • Thrive in a technologically changing environment 
  • Interest in information research, preservation and instruction 
  • Willing to connect people with a wide variety of value and belief systems to materials that represent multiple points of view
  • Believe strongly in First Amendment rights protecting the freedom of speech and of the press 
  • Wish to contribute to the greater good of a literate society
  • Want to be part of a professional community that encourages sharing information, opinions and expertise
  • Respect and uphold people’s rights to privacy and the freedom to read what they choose
  • Believe all information resources provided by libraries should be equitably accessible to all library users

If you hold many of these values, then visit Oh, the Places You Will Go to discover the many opportunities available to you in librarianship. http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/careers/librarycareerssite/mealibrarian

If there is a trait that most librarians share, is the love of learning and sharing knowledge.

Ramon Barquin eloquently describes the importance of librarians in his speech, Debt to Librarians:

We have to remember librarians have been the guardians of knowledge from the very beginning of man’s attempts to capture information outside the human brain. The media in which explicit knowledge was stored evolved from clay tablets, parchments and papyrus scrolls into books. But librarianship today has gone substantially beyond books, and the focus of its work is connecting people with a need to know something to the right source of content for that knowledge. Most of these knowledge sources now are online databases or virtual documents that exist in cyberspace.
It’s a far cry from the image we have of the librarian of the past. In fact, many schools of library science have now either changed their academic name outright into schools of ‘information science’ or have added that term to their traditional library science denomination.
And well they should since they are very much into the thick of information science and hence IT, as well as knowledge management. Take something as hot these days as search. There is little that has a higher priority than search for an enterprise that must find specific content in the mountains of virtual documents in order to address the needs of its knowledge workers. Well, to a large degree this is what librarians have been doing for millennia. For them, it starts with developing taxonomies and classification schemes that allow the storing of content in a way that will make it easier later to retrieve what they are seeking. The card catalogues of our school libraries provided a basic example of a multidimensional approach to search. We could look under the author, title and subject  headings in order to find a specific tome or list of possible books that might be helpful in researching a given topic.
With automation came quantum changes in libraries too. Fairly soon we saw the computerised catalogues allowing us to search a library’s collection, then expanding its reach to permit searching sets of collections across collaborating schools or other domains. And because the scope of librarians is no longer tied just to books, the content in databases and knowledge spaces is very much their bailiwick.


The ALA is the primary professional group representing the many facets of library science.

The ALA describes its mission:

Mission & History

Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the American Library Association was created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Our current strategic plan, ALA Ahead to 2015, calls for continued work in the areas of Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession, Diversity, Education and Lifelong Learning, Equitable Access to Information and Library Services, Intellectual Freedom, Literacy, Organizational Excellence and Transforming Libraries. http://www.ala.org/aboutala/missionhistory

So, about 10,000 librarians have come to Seattle for a weekend of seminars, meetings, fellowship, and affirmation.

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The 01/13/13 Joy Jar

12 Jan

According to the American Library Association (ALA) “There are an estimated 121,785 libraries of all kinds in the United States today. No single annual survey provides statistics on all types of libraries.” Moi goes to the Seattle Public Library’s central library several times a week. One of the joys of moi’s life is that Seattle has an excellent public library system. It really is a temple of knowledge. Today’s deposit in the ‘Joy Jar’ is the public library.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
Maya Angelou

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man”
T.S. Eliot

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
Albert Einstein

Few pleasures, for the true reader, rival the pleasure of browsing unhurriedly among books: old books, new books, library books, other people’s books, one’s own books – it does not matter whose or where. Simply to be among books, glancing at one here, reading a page from one over there, enjoying them all as objects to be touched, looked at, even smelt, is a deep satisfaction. And often, very often, while browsing haphazardly, looking for nothing in particular, you pick up a volume that suddenly excites you, and you know that this one of all the others you must read. Those are great moments – and the books we come across like that are often the most memorable.”
Aidan Chambers

The love of libraries, like most loves, must be learned. ”
Alberto Manguel,
The Library at Night

The public library is where place and possibility meet.”
Stuart Dybek