$874.96. That’s how much my textbooks cost this semester. It almost seems as though the cost of some of them is equal to the cost of the course. After shelling out large sums of money in order to attend school, I’m hit with that whopping total for the price of my textbooks. Sure, there are other alternatives to purchasing the book, such as textbook rentals or the possibility of just borrowing the book from the girl down the hall, but even those options come with their downsides.
As appalled as I was by the cost of my books, the idea of renting them lasted only five minutes in my mind. There’s something about the hassle of having to return the books to the seller by a certain date that pushed me away, not to mention the impending doom of ruining the book or losing it and having to pay its full price on top of the rental fee. On the other hand, the people down the hall would start to get fed up with me continually asking to borrow her book.
However, textbooks are an essential part of the learning process. Without them there wouldn’t be much to reference other than notes taken during class or handouts the professor gives. The textbook provides something concrete that helps you understand the professor’s train of thought. He or she chose that book among hundreds on the topic for a specific reason and purchasing it helps you complete the course in the way they intended.
If the textbook directly relates to your chosen career or even major, it’s probably in your best interest to purchase the book rather than rent it, as you may reference it again. Professors in the biology field have shared with me that they wished they had purchased some of their beginning level texts because they would have been useful to reference again later on.
As expensive as books are, they really do add to one’s education. Textbooks may be expensive and might even cause you to cringe when the order is placed. In the end, however, they benefit our education and help us in our road to learning — even if their value isn’t appreciated until after the transaction goes through.
Jean Donaldson is a sophomore biology major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This column reflects the views of the writer only.