The Collegian
Friday, June 21, 2024

Books, benevolence

My candid professor spoke unequivocally of the tacit edicts of those involved in the college textbook racket. The listed price of the latest edition of the textbook for his class was nearly four times the used listed price of the penultimate edition.

Yet, as my professor explained, little had been improved within the text, since little had changed in the world of elementary [insert favorite science]. Noticeably, the end-of-chapter question numbers, and not the questions themselves, were amended.

He acknowledged that it was a matter of sensible policy to require the newest editions of textbooks for courses. Given publishers' business acumen, older editions would no longer be in print, meaning some students would potentially not be able to avail mandatory texts because of the fickle availability of used sellers.

But can that potential not be gauged? What, realistically speaking, are the chances that there would be fewer than 18 used books of a certain edition in Amazon?

My compassionate professor answered that the chances were slim, since when he looked on Amazon, there were many dozens of sellers, most of whom were reliable given their market ratings.

Then, my professor did something spectacularly benevolent. He sent out an e-mail asking whether students had bought the latest edition as per the course listing found on urspidershop.com, and when they had all answered, "no," he decreed the penultimate edition the required text.

He bypassed the complicit relationship between the marketing geniuses at publishing houses and the quaint UR bookstore, thereby saving his students thousands of dollars.

Given Richmond's class sizes, my professor's formula is universally applicable. More professors ought to be as benevolent, since there are but a handful of courses that require updating textbooks frequently.

Yes, the bookstore would wane, but students can choose to be charitable at other locations henceforth.

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