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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Soundoff: Sept. 9

    Read between the lines

    The Arizona Students’ Association is noble in their cause to lessen the burden on the college student looking to buy textbooks. Any well-traveled veteran of college can tell you that textbooks are way overpriced; it’s no secret. Textbooks are arguably the biggest rip-off on campus, and it’s been that way for quite some time. With that said, the enemy here isn’t the bookstore, but rather the book publishers and the professors.

    Somewhere along the line, professors must have forgotten what it’s like to be a college student. It’s outrageous to pay so much for books you’ll only use for one semester. Not to mention, that’s assuming the books assigned to you are actually necessary to succeed.

    How many of us have walked into class every day, waiting to crack open that brand-new book, and are met with the reality that there is nothing in the book that isn’t already discussed in class or on the slides? Even if material is coming straight from the book, it can vary from an abundance of information to only a couple small tidbits that aren’t really relevant. Professors insist you have to buy the book to succeed. To some extent it’s true, but that’s assuming that the costly book is actually being used in the course.

    But your professors aren’t the only ones out to destroy your bank account. The textbook publishing companies continually produce new editions with only the slightest of variation. A new picture here, one extra term there, and suddenly you can’t buy the discounted used book anymore. You’re forced to buy the newest edition. Even worse, your professor will play along and demand the same thing.

    Year after year, students watch in horror as their tuition rises. Now tack on the always guaranteed hefty book costs and you’ll almost faint. ASA is going about this the right way. Awareness and organization need to happen before the movement to end this hostage situation can happen. Students are helplessly at the whim of the publishers and the professors who continue to allow this to happen. Open source textbooks are the way of the future. They’re low-cost, and they ensure you only pay for the material you need. In some instances, the publishers only get paid whenever the material is printed, so students can save a penny or print onto phsical paper if they need to. Either way, it’s what makes the most sense and is in the best interest of the students. Get with the movement and lower the cost for students.

    —Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor for the Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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