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View poll results: Used a Univeristy Textbook after you've completed the course it was required for?
Yes, I use it all the time! 5 18.52%
Yes, I use it everynow and then. 8 29.63%
Yes, I've used it once. 5 18.52%
No, but I've thought about using it. 1 3.7%
No, I haven't used it nor thought about it. 8 29.63%
Voters: 27
   
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University Textbooks - Useful, or not?
superfireydave 
28/8/08 1:11:01 AM
Titan

I'm proud that I've managed to get through most of my University life without buying, or even using many text books (2 at the most before today IIRC). Today though, I had to buy one, as an assignment was based DIRECTLY on the course text book.

Now, I own a heap of books I reference from time to time about IT, design, or other things. They're not textbooks though.

So I've spent ~$100 on a project management textbook, and I'm reading it. While it certainly will be useful for this course, I'm left wondering what the hell it will be useful after the course given that the course is based almost entirely on the book. If I've studied the course and understood it, what use is the book that contains the knowledge I've just learnt to me? Especially if said knowledge was fairly common sense, and that most practical knowledge I've found in another book.

Why don't Universities (and perhaps, even schools) use textbooks that are relevant to the course, but also provide a good reference for students to use after the course and present additional knowledge that's outside of the scope of the course but is related? Surely that would be more interesting?

Because as it stands, I have here a ~$100 book that's not that thick, doesn't read awfully well, and isn't terribly useful to me outside of the domain of the course I'm doing at the moment.

Compare that to some books I've got that cost me half as much but are a million times more useful that I've found not only useful for my University projects and courses, but useful outside of the scope of those specific courses.


TLDR: Why are uni textbooks so expensive, yet so narrow in their content? Why don't courses use books which are relevant, but also contain relevant related knowledge which may be useful during, and after, the course.

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Mreow?
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=9&t=17306

Kimmo 
28/8/08 1:15:16 AM
Hero
Immortal


When it comes to scientific subjects, there have been some excellent textbooks published in the last twenty years.

I gather they were generally pretty awful further back, though

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1bolHungLo 
28/8/08 1:15:22 AM
Immortal

university sells them textbooks to milk more money out of their students. they dont want their students as much as possible to spend the money for textbooks elsewhere.

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robzy 
28/8/08 1:16:22 AM
Hero
Immortal


Unis make money off them. Also explains why new editions are published so often.

As for what to do with it afterwards? Sell it.

Personally I'm holding on to my economics text books, they are interesting.

Rob.

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superfireydave 
28/8/08 1:16:42 AM
Titan

Quote by 1bolHungLo
university sells them textbooks to milk more money out of their students. they dont want their students as much as possible to spend the money for textbooks elsewhere.


That's the thing though, if the courses had decent books, and the campus bookstore stocked them - I'd actually have bought more books from Uni.

Because they don't though, I've avoided buying or using a textbook like the plague.

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Mreow?
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=9&t=17306

dBUG 
28/8/08 1:18:55 AM
Champion

i hardly buy textbooks when i was in Uni..i think i bought 3-4 textbooks through out the years. i prefer print-out lecture notes.

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kikz 
28/8/08 6:25:03 AM
Immortal

Biggest problem with textbooks for IT is the speed at which they go out of date. That said, throughout my courses I've bought and retained all my textbooks (save for one Psychology text I sold to a housemate).

I've gone back over some of them over the years. The mose notable would be:
-Craig Larman's Applying UML and Patterns
-some networking textbook, I think by Andrew Tenanbaum
-an os textbook from above author.
-Computer Security, by some scandanavian dude.


Speaking of Project Management:- I have "Information Technology Project Management" by Kathy Schwalbe, sitting to my right just now, (I'm at work). That was my PM text from uni.

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Ashykat 
28/8/08 7:30:16 AM
Overlord

I like buying textbooks, I don't know if it's just because I like adding to my library or because all of my textbooks for my degree have been interesting in one way or another.

I've never been a fan of how pricey they are, and the 10% discount at the co-op does fuck all, but at the end of the day, I like having my textbooks and I'm keeping them for my 'professional' library for when I'm working in the field.

When I did my internship, my 'mentor' had a handful of her old uni textbooks at her desk and a lot of them were still relevant (even if some were older editions), but she still found them useful.

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Skull 
28/8/08 7:32:56 AM
Champion

I have purchased all my texts as well as buying some others that weren't required but just recommended reading. But that was due to getting reimbursed the cost of my texts as I was sponsored by my job. Now that I have had to pay my own way this year I have only purchased the minimum.

But I'm sure you should be able to find the texts at the uni library

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Champ

linke 
28/8/08 7:58:17 AM
Guru

I'm about 50:50 so far.

These days I try to use them if I buy them, so I don't get as annoyed about spending the money.

My study style seems to be changing as a result too, where I prefer texts so I can write in, and highlight them.

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Hentai Bob 
28/8/08 8:47:41 AM
Champion

Depends on what you are studying. It's really a case by case thing, especially if you are in sciences like I am. I have used some of my text books quite heavily as references and reminders. I will always keep them I think. I even bought some of the "recommended reading" as the were fucking great references. So.... It's a case by case thing depending on the subjects and the books really.

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slimdog360 
28/8/08 9:21:57 AM
Overlord

reading is for lozars fool

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pretty 
28/8/08 9:34:16 AM
Guru

I have a special love for my uni textbooks. They are stupidly expensive, but generally really good. I've found that a lot of the stuff I'm studying overlaps with other sujects, and so the one textbook can help me out in a variety of ways.

Will I use them again after uni? Yeah, I'm willing to say that I probably will. :)

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Go then. There are other worlds than these.

dave_blob 
28/8/08 11:21:24 AM
Guru

I barely bought any, and am very happy of that decision.

Most were horrifically expensive, dry, and offered no more information than you could get on the internet in less time than you could find it in your book.

Apparently science students find their textbooks quite useful as a reference in later years, i guess it doesnt go out of date so fast.

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Cybes 
28/8/08 1:25:26 PM
Guru

I had a couple of textbooks I didn't even have to open for the course they were purportedly for. I also have one I've used sporadically for several years afterward.

They were ALL hideously overpriced.

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The meek shall inherit the Earth - when everyone else has finished with it.

lunchbox1988 
28/8/08 1:27:03 PM
Guru

Which ones did you have cybes?

If the unused / unneeded ones are in good nic and you don't want them, I might be interested.

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Errorist 
28/8/08 1:38:43 PM
Champion

Sure they're useful. It's knowledge on paper.

Whether or not it's worth the exorbitant price is another question.

I'm slightly concerned that they're able to charge so much for that small bit of knowledge in the book considering (as referenced) the internet.

Surely a small royalty, a small profit and lack of production to publish as an e-book would be a more advantageous prospect for students?

Whoops, forgot that Universities are "for-profit". :-p

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pretty 
28/8/08 1:45:08 PM
Guru

Quote by Errorist
Surely a small royalty, a small profit and lack of production to publish as an e-book would be a more advantageous prospect for students?



This semester and in the past, I've had a couple of subjects that have online readings. They say they do it to save money for us, but really the reality is is that everyone just prints all the online readings out and that ends up costing a fortune anyway. I almost prefer them to just print it all out for us and sell it in a unit reader type textbook than reading it all online.

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Go then. There are other worlds than these.

superfireydave 
28/8/08 1:52:37 PM
Titan

Quote by Errorist
Sure they're useful. It's knowledge on paper.

Whether or not it's worth the exorbitant price is another question.

I'm slightly concerned that they're able to charge so much for that small bit of knowledge in the book considering (as referenced) the internet.


I don't know.

I'm happy to pay $200 for a book if I think it's worth it. I don't think most of my course books are worth it =P

Kikz: The very book you have beside you at the moment is the very book (albeit probably a later version?) that sparked this thread =P

The fact you're still using it gives me some hope though, but surely there's a better book available for project management?

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Mreow?
http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=2&c=9&t=17306

Errorist 
28/8/08 2:02:30 PM
Champion

Cheap e-paper/e-book readers will be here soon... I hope.

But I just don't see how the bulk of the cost is justified.

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