Addressing Textbook Pain (3 of 3)
Let’s address three strategies for your textbook woes that don’t actually require you to buy any textbooks to get the job done. These may not come into play as often, but if they do you’ll be glad you tried.
I had a friend in college with a brilliantly simple plan for buying books. Unlike the rest of us who ran out and immediately bought every text on our syllabuses, he waited until the professor actually assigned a reading to make his move. If he got the impression this book would continue to figure into future reading assignments he would then procure it through the usual means. On the other hand, if he sensed or was told that a book might be used only once during the semester—for this particular assignment—he might skip the reading altogether, run copies of a few pages, or borrow the text for a limited time. And, quite often, he never actually had to do any of that.
One of the dirty little secrets of college is that professors often never have any intention of, or get around to, assigning readings from their book list. In this case, and it was often the case, he had saved himself the money and the headache of buying them. Likewise, in classes where the professor has a habit of listing several books but using only a few you might want to wait until you actually need the book to procure it.
What too few students do when given a book assignment, especially of popular or more commercial books, is look for them in places where people go for free reading materials. Towns across America have libraries full of books available for a free loan which students repeatedly forego when given assignments. Even if your school or local public library doesn’t have your book on hand, try to check it out from their inter-library loan system, a common way in which libraries share books with each other. Ask your parents to look into their local library’s offerings to see if they can check out the book and ship it to you for a time. Many a student has saved many a dollar by checking out a library book then renewing it as needed.
As previously discussed, oftentimes professors will include a book in the syllabus but then only assign few sections of it here and there for homework. All too often these assignments will consist of but a small section, perhaps a chapter, of text. Within certain limits students can make copies of the pertinent pages. Beware of each book’s copyright page before you do, so as to not run afoul of the law. Books all have different copyright restrictions on copies, with 10 pages being a fairly typical limit to give you an idea.