Tuesday, April 25, 2006

When You Get Home Be Sure To Cover Them With A Paper Bag

They're really only useful for the problem sets at the back of the chapter.

Editors update. Then take a look at this link from Daren.

There's an engraving on the side of the library at Penn State. It says "The true university is a collection of books." For many Americans a collection of text books are all they have after four years of beer, football games, flashing their boobs in Cancun and pulling all-nighters to squeak in under deadline to hand in something, hoping grade inflation and a curve will get them a cushy job. I was half way through my undergrad career, living in an apartment that didn't ordinarily take students. A neighbors girlfriend, a thick bodied working class soul, peeked into my open door one day and saw 3 tall book cases full. She was dumbfounded that one person could own so many books. Frankly, I think I scared her. It surprised me, most everyone I know line at least one room with the printed word. A couple of dear friends of mine have even purchased a home, partly in order to tame their expanding library.

Text books are expensive. For the students books not used are beers not bought. It really is annoying to have to purchase packs with study guides and CD's. It's even more annoying when a text is chosen by a professor not as a study manual but as a future reference. There are many books on my shelf that not only hindered partying but also learning at the time of purchase and as of yet fail to demonstrate their bearing. They function solely as ornaments to my past. They serve as a badge, if not of intelligence, then of scholarship. Still, I don't mind having bought them now. Text books in general are invaluable tools when one wants to project authority or intimidate the uneducated. Just ask any lawyer.


Blogger RicketyFunk said...

I always referred to the textbook ritual as Bowing to the Gods of the Textbook Racket. Thankfully, most philosophy texts don't change that much so most of my books were cheap or at least affordable and I could shop around at real bookstores too. Plato's Republic isn't hard to find and there aren't new "fragments" to be translated and incorporated into the document.

The textbook publishing industry is a racket that is if not run, at least fueled by the ivory tower of academia. I didn't need the information in the 12th edition of my Physical Geography text that wasn't in the 10th edition, but I had to buy it new becasue that's all they had. When I went to cash it in for my $5.00 they said that they weren't buying them back. I left it on the counter and walked away. "Hey man, you forgot your book." "It's not my book anymore. Enjoy it, it was expensive."

Apr 25, 2006, 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Daren said...

Hey, that's us! We love you guys, too.

The subject of the WSJ article is also something the agency I work for has addressed -- our president wrote an op-ed in the Herald about it. (And I'd like to add that maintaining the website I just linked to is the reason why I usually don't have time to post more comments here.)

Apr 25, 2006, 12:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Daren said...

Huh. That link didn't work right at all.


Apr 25, 2006, 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

That was a so much better link then my first one.

Apr 25, 2006, 1:09:00 PM  
Anonymous PaulMc said...

College textbooks are about as fairly priced as...gasoline.

$140 per book should mean you're buying first edition Hemmingway not some f'in' physics book.

And yes, every room should have a book or two. I read a quote one time - "A room without a book is like a body without a soul."

Though, I don't know how soulful a Calculus book really is...I prefer fiction myself.

Apr 25, 2006, 3:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dean ASC said...

Paul, I feel the same way about a room with no TV. Don't get me wrong, I'm no stranger to reading. It's just that growing up children weren't allowed to play in the formal parlor and ever since then I have a strong mistrust of antique curios behind glass cases and rooms with no TV. They're just un-inviting.

Apr 25, 2006, 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Marty said...

I am happy my school buys the books for me and delivers them. I know it still is in the overall cost but atleast I don't have to look at the price.

Apr 26, 2006, 5:19:00 PM  

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