Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

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#1 Nykc  Icon User is offline

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Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:08 PM

I am a few years out of College, but still notice an ongoing trend of professors needing the latest greatest edition of that Calculus book that comes out every 6 months and runs around $114.00 new.

My outlet for getting books was always Amazon.com or places that sold used books. Sometimes 4 classes would run me $500+ in books. Lately places like Chegg.com and BookRenter.com have stepped in and took the cash cow away from your local College Bookstore.

Now some college bookstores are trying to get back into the action by partnering with some of these companies.

What is your take on all of this. To me, I am all for used text books, digital books or using online resources. (Every penny counts)

Another good example is my old University - A professor I had who taught Photoshop 7 when I was in school, now she is teaching CS4 and gearing towards CS5. She made the students this year get a CS3 classroom in a book and a CS4 classroom in a book.

Same with software, although now schools are offering virtual desktops to access the software from your University. When I went I had to take an Office XP class (Yes I am fucking old) 6 months later 2003 was released and I was forced to purchase the software because we just had to learn it and it was THAT MUCH DIFFERENT :rolleyes2:

My point is, I don't feel it is always necessary to jump on the just released bandwagon because honestly 9/10 times the changes aren't that drastic.

So how does this make you future scholars feel? What is your take on book rental services?

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#2 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:12 PM

I had the 10th edition of a Calculus text. They didn't offer Calc II the following semester and by the time it was offered the text was now 11th Edition. Since HW required the problems from the book, I was forced to get another copy $115, ugh.
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#3 RedSon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:20 PM

My favorite thing is when professors require you to purchase their own text book! That sounds a little shifty to me...

Although I do still use some of my college text books as reference material so I do recommend buying them for the important core classes. You will probably use those for a long time to come.
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#4 Nykc  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:22 PM

View PostRedSon, on 03 June 2010 - 01:20 PM, said:

My favorite thing is when professors require you to purchase their own text book! That sounds a little shifty to me...


Funny you mention that, that cutting edge Office class I took was a book written by the professor. $15.00 for a self bound edition sold at your local B&N.

Good times!
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#5 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:35 PM

In a Java class we used the book written by the prof; it was pretty sweet.
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#6 RedSon  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 12:50 PM

View PostKYA, on 03 June 2010 - 10:35 AM, said:

In a Java class we used the book written by the prof; it was pretty sweet.

Yea, I'm not saying its a bad book, but for an author to require you to buy their book in order for you to get your education is something of a conflict of interest, no?

Imagine if you had to read Steven King's It before going to the circus. And Steven King was the ring master, and every day he released a new version, so you had to buy it and read it before you would be allowed to visit the circus.

Something wrong about that analogy... "It" was a scary book.
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#7 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 01:55 PM

I wanted to make a note that often times, unless the professor is a frequent publisher or self publishing, generally speaking, they don't make much money from publishing books. Authors generally speaking give resell rights over to the publishing companies for a few meager hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars at most and the publishing company gets all the incoming money from the sales (unless otherwise negotiated) until the author is established. However I'm not 100% sure how this affects academics as its more like publishing research so this could be slightly different than the general books you would find at the bookstore (non-textbook).
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#8 Nykc  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:01 PM

Oh they get spiffs. Trust me
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#9 xTorvos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:05 PM

From what I've seen, the author usually gets royalties for a certain duration (e.g. 5 years since date of publication).

I've had a couple professors that require that you buy the book (that they wrote), then follow the first chapter (the introduction) and then skip around randomly making it pointless to even try to follow along.

Conflict of interest much? :nono:
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#10 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:18 PM

View PostxTorvos, on 03 June 2010 - 01:05 PM, said:

From what I've seen, the author usually gets royalties for a certain duration (e.g. 5 years since date of publication).

I've had a couple professors that require that you buy the book (that they wrote), then follow the first chapter (the introduction) and then skip around randomly making it pointless to even try to follow along.

Conflict of interest much? :nono:


That would be bad. I normally can't fault people for wanting to use their own books because afterall, if you're teaching on a subject you're familiar about and you did publish work that will help others learn, it shouldn't matter if it's your own book or another authors so long as it gets the objective met aka teaching the students. However if they're using it as a reason to profit without putting the book to good use or randomly jumping around out of order, it makes the book seem useless and the material irrelevant as a need for completing the course. At which point then I would agree, this would totally suck.

I have yet to come across a professor that uses a book they published themselves so I can't say I can relate at the moment.
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#11 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 02:57 PM

I buy all of my books on Amazon used, I don't sell them back. Half of them I have never even opened but it's not worth risking the teacher "requiring" the book and then having to buy it from the bookstore at full price.

I could probably sell them back for a good price online but honestly I am too lazy. Book buy-back at the campus bookstore is a joke (eg. 20$ for a 150$ book hahahahhh no thanks).

I haven't had a teacher require their own book yet, although I've heard that some at our college not only require students to buy their book but the students must also have a new edition (they have to tear off the cover and give it to the professor).
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#12 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 03:27 PM

View PostTom9729, on 03 June 2010 - 01:57 PM, said:

I buy all of my books on Amazon used, I don't sell them back. Half of them I have never even opened but it's not worth risking the teacher "requiring" the book and then having to buy it from the bookstore at full price.

I could probably sell them back for a good price online but honestly I am too lazy. Book buy-back at the campus bookstore is a joke (eg. 20$ for a 150$ book hahahahhh no thanks).

I haven't had a teacher require their own book yet, although I've heard that some at our college not only require students to buy their book but the students must also have a new edition (they have to tear off the cover and give it to the professor).


That's a waste of money. You should have emailed the professor in advance prior to the class starting and ask about the textbook. Some announce they never intend to use the textbook listed on the required sheet you normally get prior to class starting. Others tell you specifically what they plan on doing with the textbook aka homework out of the book or just reading material that is covered in class. Doing a quick email prior to the term starting will help you plan and save hundreds rather than buy books you don't need and never plan on using. Even though I agree the bookstore buy back is a serious joke, it's even more of a joke not to resell it back when you have no plans on using it. $20 is better than nothing out of a book you won't use or never plan on using again, especially if you're too lazy to resell online and ship it back out.
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#13 Tom9729  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 04:15 PM

View Postnooblet, on 03 June 2010 - 05:27 PM, said:

That's a waste of money. You should have emailed the professor in advance prior to the class starting and ask about the textbook. Some announce they never intend to use the textbook listed on the required sheet you normally get prior to class starting. Others tell you specifically what they plan on doing with the textbook aka homework out of the book or just reading material that is covered in class. Doing a quick email prior to the term starting will help you plan and save hundreds rather than buy books you don't need and never plan on using. Even though I agree the bookstore buy back is a serious joke, it's even more of a joke not to resell it back when you have no plans on using it. $20 is better than nothing out of a book you won't use or never plan on using again, especially if you're too lazy to resell online and ship it back out.

True, but as I said: sometimes I'm lazy. :)

I am going to look into selling a few textbooks from last year on Amazon. Surprised to see they're still going for ~100$ despite being older editions...
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#14 nooblet  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 03 June 2010 - 08:10 PM

View PostTom9729, on 03 June 2010 - 03:15 PM, said:

True, but as I said: sometimes I'm lazy. :)

I am going to look into selling a few textbooks from last year on Amazon. Surprised to see they're still going for ~100$ despite being older editions...


You're lucky, I tried reselling some books I had for my other major and as luck would turn out, right when I finished the class, they discontinued using the text book, was about $200 and it couldn't even sell for $10 anywhere online. I ended up with garbage.
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#15 W3bDev  Icon User is offline

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Re: Textbooks Rent -vs- Buy

Posted 04 June 2010 - 09:29 AM

I hate the whole book complex. How can I buy a book, then a couple months later not be able to sell it for even half of it's value on amazon? Thievery I tell you... worse than car resale.
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