Textbooks are a major expense for just about any student and an incredibly important decision for their professors. Choosing a text is one of the most important decisions an instructor makes in building his or her course.
The publishers of college textbooks work extremely hard to get college professors all over the country to use specific textbooks. Some publishers are even going as far as to pay instructors to use their texts. A growing trend has begun and not everyone is taking the student, and their wallet, into consideration.
Textbooks cost Cabrini students “between $300- $500 on average for the year, but it depends,” Bridget Scogna, Cabrini’s bookstore manager, said. “Fall is usually more expensive than spring. If you’re a biology major, you’ll probably spend more than an English major.”
When it comes to the important decision of choosing a textbook, most professors weigh the decisions carefully. When asked about choosing and keeping texts, Dr. Jeremy Rich, history professor, said that for some classes he uses the same, but most he does not. His reason for changing books has been, “some books are too long and others I changed the course structure.” Dr. Edna Barenbaum, psychology professor, has been using the same text for the last three years. She changes when the edition changes, which is usually two to three years with that subject area, but said “it’s very costly when they change edition.”
Publishing companies have offered college professors around “$4,000 to review an introductory textbook,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, as a kind of bribe to choose it. “[I am] very much against it, [I] wouldn’t ever participate in it,” Barenbaum said.
Dr. Katie Acker, assistant professor of mathematics, said she has never been offered money to use a particular textbook. Acker said, “[publishers] try to get you to use books in other ways — supplements and online access.” As far as if Acker offered money to use a particular book, she said she would have to know, “why [they] needed to bribe.” Acker is looking for math books on a CD because most math books are so heavy and the publications on the CD must be cheaper. “Any publisher, who has [a math text on a CD] has a higher mark up for me; it’d be worth trying,” Acker said
Posted to the web by Shawn Rice