Professors should use textbooks more

Review's View

With the start of school comes new pens, notebooks and, of course, textbooks. The regular grumble about textbooks usually surrounds the bookstore. Students often come away from buying textbooks with their wallets hurting. However, another important aspect to consider is how much your professor uses the books they assign.

While the price of textbooks is another editorial for another day, the value of textbooks should be discussed. While a biology book can cost more than one hundred dollars, it contains information that one can reference throughout the course. Also, the student can usually sell the book back for a decent amount of money. Granted, it is only usually about one third of the purchase price back, but the student still gets a substantial amount.

For irregular courses that require specialized books, it can be frustrating when the professor does not use them regularly and then the student tries to sell them back. We understand professors have specific things they want to focus on and there are important things in the textbooks that they assign. However, some professors make no effort to require the use of the books they say are required on their syllabus. This has led to some students waiting to buy their textbooks until later in the semester. For students who bought their books early, it is too late to sell them back or return them, so they are stuck with a useless book that will cost them money in the end. Quite often, professors are sensitive to the plight of students and the rising cost of textbooks and explicitly tell their classes they WILL use the books. We’re just asking the rest of the faculty to do us the same kindness.

As well, some professors like to use one or two essays out of a book that costs more than 50 dollars. In the age of the Internet, is there nothing else they can do? With ready access to library reserves and online course reserves, why do we have to buy the book?

Of course, it might be helpful to share books, but that usually turns out badly, with one book user forgetting to give the book to another book user right before the test and then there are bad book-user relations.


Admittedly, half of us are still smarting from just getting around to buying our textbooks, but we think this is something legitimate to consider. Please help us to maintain some kind of sanity and use the books. It is not like we do not want to use them. It is, in fact, important to use them to fill our heads with useful stuff that we will go off to use when we become grown-ups.