Re "When you can't afford to go buy the book," Nov. 7
As a community college history instructor, I cut costs by using paperback trade books wherever possible. By so doing, I save my students $50 or more per textbook. I am concerned that students fail to see their education as an investment in themselves and their future so that entertainment, cellphones and iPods take precedent over textbooks. I am even more concerned that they are losing a culture of literacy as evidenced by their disinterest in building a personal library.
THURBER PROFFITT III
Santa Ana College
I began teaching business management in 1996 as an adjunct professor. At that time, the full-time professor (who selected our text) believed in minimizing costs by selecting a softcover text published by Barrons. It cost our students $13.95. I continued to use that text for years. The old professor retired and a new full-time replacement was hired. She picked a glitzy, colorful new text that came with a CD. Students paid more than $90 for this selection.
To this day, I'm convinced my students were just as well-educated when the low-cost alternative was used. In the final semester I taught that class, I heard new student gripes that the publisher had issued an updated edition, and the bookstore would no longer purchase or resell the used one. That means past students could not resell their old text and new students could not buy a secondhand one. If college professors prioritize low costs rather than the newest full-color text, student expenses can be drastically reduced.