Where’d All the Textbooks Go?

By: Cory William Berlekamp
Email: berlekampc@findlay.edu
Twitter: @Cberlekamp
At the beginning of the semester I always put off two things; getting my parking pass and buying my textbooks. The first one is kind of dumb since it is free and relatively painless (just walking over to security and showing them my Oiler card) but the second one has always made me cringe.
There is something about dumping anywhere from $300-$1000 on textbooks I am only required to have for three and a half months that hurts me on the inside. But since falling behind at the beginning semester is a hole I would rather not dig, I suck it up and head over to  the book store. This year was different.
At the beginning of week two I made sure which text I could not live without (biology) and asked the clerk to go and grab it for me. She smiled and pointed me in the direction of the laptop sitting next to the nearly empty shelves in the bookstore. Surprise, confusion, a little bit of anger washed over me as she explained that they were no longer keeping physical copies of the texts in stock and that it was easier to have it shipped to my residence. How dare they!
But as I saw the price of the book and thought about how I really did not need it longer than the semester I had a revelation. I could just rent the book, something that I have never done before. According to the email confirmation from Chegg.com, my total savings were 205.33 dollars. Why had I never done this before?
The cost of these essential tools of learning are nothing to scoff at nowadays. According to Collegeboard.com, in 2018-19 students at four year universities spent an average of 1,240 dollars on textbooks and supplies.
When I had the option to just buy them when I went to the store, I did not think twice. I wanted the books right there and then because I had already waited to the last possible moment. Thanks to the decision by the University of Findlay to go online, I got to take a moment and think about my expenses.
Though I will miss the book buyback near the end of the semester (I never questioned the amount they gave me, I was just happy to get something back), I am much happier spending less than 50 dollars on a textbook I will not use pass this semester.

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