There is no question that textbooks for college make up a hidden and considerable cost in education. And now, with the combination of assigned readings as well as online instruction, the textbook package cost is going up even more. New students entering the system blindly trust that their school's bookstore has their best interests in mind, which is usually far from the truth. Further, there is no clear guide out there provided to college students because their confusion is big business, especially freshman students on a limited budget and no real knowledge of the textbook market.
However, despite all the nonsense, there are 8 myths told to students that are clearly outrageous and need to cleared up wherever possible. These include:
Baloney! In most cases, the college bookstore is the worst place to buy a class textbook. The prices are so inflated, the markup can easily be as much as 20 to 40 percent over regular retail. And many times they will sell poor condition books dubbed new if not shrink-wrapped.
In fact, there's a 25 percent chance of getting an almost new book when buying used. First, it can save a significant amount of money from any source. Second, many used books only suffer some edge wear. 2 out of 10 are in bad condition, and if bought in person they can be avoided.
Wrong. Almost all classes have required reading from a texbook, and half the test material usually comes from the assigned reading.
Wrong again. Many books are only available in a paper format. They may be bound or looseleaf, but digital copies are still hard to find. When they are available, however, they can be considerably less.
Not always true. For textbooks that provide general theory and concepts, the previous edition usually works just fine. The revisions that typically occur are minor and involve extreme topics. The majority of the book is typically the same, and a previous version can be far cheaper. However, books that are collections of essays and articles change dramatically.
Your textbooks will have some use if you use them for about 10 years. After that, they will be entirely obsolete. Unfortunately, most people just take up shelf space with them and never reference the pages again.
Interestingly enough, while many books do have deep research, they end up being proven wrong on lots of concepts within a few years. Education is amazingly fluid and new concepts are being proven every year.
True! Textbooks may need updating from time to time, but any chance to add a new chapter is always taken, as well as new maps/charts/profiles, and thing to change the page number and make a new edition.