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OMG TEXTBOOKS! - June 1, 2010
Rating: 4.2/5 (80 votes cast)
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Warning: Long comic/fact-sheet ahead.

Spiked Math Comic - OMG TEXTBOOKS!

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This doesn't apply to German universities, as far as I can tell. A book will almost never be mandatory for a course, and even if it is, the University library will usually have enough copies. And if they don't, math textbooks rarely cost more than €30 new. Also, our universities are (technically) free.
Still, I may have to attend a US college in the near future, so I'll have to steel myself for the steep cost of books.

or to Israeli ones. the only time a professor ever even gave us (semi-) mandatory reading was when both the library and the internet had the book for free. But American colleges do sound a lot more like my high school then my university.

do you mean prof. klartag, from TAU?

Seems like we have it great here in Finland then
We don't use "textbooks" in traditional book form, our student union prints them on A4s and puts nicely coloured covers for them, all in price of 3-5€ (a course).
For one course I bought Schaum's tables and formulas for 18€ (optional allowed in exam), so that's perhaps the biggest single expense in my studies yet.

Exploding pie charts? That's possibly the worst you can do... at least it's not 3D!

wow awesome analysis, but books in my country retail pretty cheap...

wow, 'pretty cheap' books? 30€ is a whole lot of money!
I think that's robbery, to ask so much... :)

Well, computer science books start at about 50€ but the ones you'd really want to own and read are usually about 70-80€. In Germany, that is.

Hmm. Those would be the books in English. From American publishers, I bet. Hmm. Just sayin'...

I think some of the statistics are made up on the fly :P. Like 80% of them are anyways.

Did you just make that up?

the only reason textbooks cost so much is that students are forced to buy them, I can't believe that this blatant extortion is still legal

Yup, and there are other factors that contribute to the cost. One trick to make more money is to bundle the textbook with other "useful" material, like a cd or study guide - and then not offer the textbook for sale by itself.

Rental programs are becoming more popular where students only have to pay a fraction of the cost to rent a textbook for the semester. Anything that lowers the cost to students is a plus in my book.

It's called Amazon. What rule says you have to pay the exorbitant fee at the University Bookstore?

There is a variable here: what area to write in. Theology textbooks tend to be more expensive than average--but the sales are smaller. Math textbooks probably are more expensive, but the production costs are (or used to be) higher, due to all the special equation text. And so on...

My textbooks are mostly on my computer :P

Nice South Park reference:
Step 1. collect underwear
Step 2. ???
Step 3. Profit!

I doubt he is referencing South Park. I bet they are referencing the same thing. It is a phrase that is frequently used.

Yeah, but to the best of my knowledge the origin of the "1. <action> 2. ??? 3. Profit!" construct was the underpants gnomes episode of South Park. That was the one where the boys were introduced to Tweak, got hopped up on coffee and learned the valuable lesson that large corporations are not inherently evil. The underpants gnomes had a broken business model that went:
1. Collect underpants
2. ???
3. Profit
They simply hadn't noticed that step 2 was undefined because they kept focusing so much on the immediate task and the eventual goal. See also the .com bubble. ;-) Although that lack-of-plan has worked out for a few companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. But only because they were actively engaged in trying to *get* a working, profitable business model.

Furry cows moo and decompress.

Which itself is a copy of an old Far Side comic.

new editions for math textbooks should come out like every 20 years
i mean wth its math
im dont know that much about theoretical stuff but shouldnt most math be a one edition done deal

No matter how thoroughly you proof-read a math book, you will always find mistakes. And sometimes the author wants to add new stuff or restructure the book. But usually, it's not worth buying the new edition, if you already own an older one.

we had one course where the lecturer wrote the textbook (which contained the course exercises), but not only did she put it on the internet for free, she also sold it for about 25NIS (about 8$).

That reminds me of the Philosophy course where the prof had texts copied at Kinkos--cheap, and funny too: the shop used the title of the first text as the title of the book, something like "The agony and the glory"...

only observed the warning now. Mike is that warning coming in more often? Long ones are kinda more fun. Longer the better LOL

I knew a lot of people who didn't buy the texts until the third or fourth assignement to find out if the professor was *really* going to use the book or not. Many didn't after that first week. And the school library helped with that.

In my case, I had so many paperbacks to buy for a required Classics course that had to be read quickly that I put off some of the textbooks until such a time that I discovered that I really didn't need them.

I had one professor who would just photocopy the relevant chapters for us, which was pretty awesome. Other than that I had to buy most books and the math and science ones were often over $150. Sometimes you'd use the same book for two semesters, which helped. But the worst outrage for me was paying over $50 for a paperback that had been published in the 50's.

That one was for a philosophy class which I ended up dropping anyways.

Last time our prof. wrote a textbook about the topic of our class he told us "the questions of the test at the end of the semester are all in this book" (so at least some of us had to buy it - well more or less, the test turned out easier than I thought) - oh and that was biology. Never seen anyone use a math textbook (yet).

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