By DIANA RUSSELL
Textbooks are expensive. Even if you use the best possible purchase plan (recommended by the manager of the college bookstore),“Buy Early, Buy Used, Sell at the End of the Semester,” you can still get burned by not receiving a partial reimbursement at the end of the semester.
It is important to understand the process of how textbooks are chosen and replaced and what options you have to dispose of an outdated textbook.
First, the faculty chooses the publishers. Second, the publishers revise their textbooks every two years, and then they destroy the old ones according to Larry Tipton, the manager of the CCC Barnes and Noble Bookstore.
“Once the books are destroyed, combined with the fact that students do not return enough of the old textbooks, new ones have to be ordered. It is our job to have books on the shelves when students need them,” said Tipton.
In some instances, the faculty has been able to work with the publishers to customize a textbook. In 2008, the Mathematics Department revised the math textbooks for levels 85, 86, 91, 92, 94 and 99 by pulling chapters and sections that were not being utilized. This resulted in a 40% reduction in cost, and a textbook that possibly can be used beyond the two years.
Larry encourages students to get involved in the textbook selection. Students can influence what books are used in the classroom by going through proper channels like student council or department chairpersons. Even replacing a hardcover book with a paperback can save money.
In a telephone conversation with Brittini in the Student Senate office, Student Senate Board Members are willing to bring up suggestions or problems students have at a Book Committee meeting which is held every few weeks.
One way to save money and avoid getting stuck with an outdated textbook is to take advantage of digital books which are less expensive than a used textbook. Information is available on the CCC website (cccnj.edu) under the bookstore tab.
Even an outdated textbook may still have value in a class. Check with the professor and see if he or she will allow the use of an older version.
Finally, here are some recycling alternatives:
*The bookstore has a “give and take box” where students can leave a book they no longer want and another student can take it for free.
*Donate the book to the Fairton Correctional Center Library (through Dr. Stolar).
* Phi Theta Kappa is collecting books for Better World Books (see page #7).
* Check with local libraries who often have yearly book sales as fund raisers.
Tipton reminds students that “textbooks are a cooperative process. The bookstore is not the enemy. They have to fulfill what the faculty wants to use. It is not our call.”
In otherwords, don’t blame the bookstore. Students have a voice. Get involved in the textbook process. And remember, if you can’t return it, recycle it!