Monday, September 05, 2011

Textbooks Are Killing Me!

    I’ve been thinking of how we might shape a new model of for texts that might lower the materials cost of higher education and thereby make it more accessible who find it cost prohibitive. Certainly, I realize tuition far out-paces course materials as an item on students’ higher ed budgets. Still, every bit helps.

    Some steps I took:

    • I downloaded Amazon’s student app and used it in the COOP to scan course texts for their partners. Where the Amazon texts were less expensive, I added them to my cart. (This was the case in all but two instances.)
    • When I got home, I compared the items in my Amazon cart with used versions available through amazon. Whenever possible, I chose the used version.
    • I took advantage of amazon’s offer of 6 months of free Amazon Prime membership for students. This secures free 2-day shipping and other as of yet unknown “deals.” (When selecting used texts, I only purchased those qualifying for Amazon Prime.)
    • When it was possible, I purchased the Kindle version of texts. I’ll be reading them on my iPad, but I’d take advantage of the new Kindle Cloud feature if I didn’t have a Kindle or iPad.
    • I opted against texts that were recommended but not required (with the exception of the APA style guide).

    As a result, my possible costs of $600 ended up at around $450. That’s a chunk of rent or more than a month’s worth of groceries.

Give it a try next semester and then lobby your friendly, neighborhood academic departments to work with students to help in every way they can. 

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