Textbooks comprise one of the many costs of higher education. These and other required reading courses come in new, used and digital versions. As you read below, having used printed books provide financial, environmental and academic benefits.
“Think of used textbooks
as a form of recyclable
literature and content.”
On average, used books run cheaper than the newer counterparts. The former category of books show some wear and tear and contain highlighting and writing. With these characteristics come the predictable diminution in resale value.
You will also find these used books less expensive because of who sells them to you. At the campus bookstore, you’ll likely pay the highest prices even for the used books. After all, the campus bookstore must attend to its profitability. By contrast, your fellow students more likely just want to recoup a little bit of money or otherwise unload something they no longer need. As such, the students will settle for lower prices.
You can also find inexpensive used books through local brick-and-mortar book exchanges and online used textbook sellers or e-commerce marketplaces.
Used books also make items that you can rent from bookstores or online. In some cases, you might even find a used book for your class in the library. have such, you obviously will not have to pay for the book itself. To remedy your inability to check it out for an entire semester, you can do your reading at the library, make your notes, and copy the relevant portions you might need.
Physical, as opposed to virtual or digital, books require multitude of paper. Depending upon the particular source, estimates place the publishing industries cutting and use of trees over 100 million.
Recycling books reduces the need for cutting trees. The preservation of trees tends to prevent urban or other heat islands and soil or ground erosion.
Think of used textbooks as a form of recyclable literature and content. When you keep a book in circulation, you’re preventing large amounts of paper and hard covers from populating trash cans and ultimately landfills. Paper comprises roughly a quarter of landfill space nationwide.
You may reasonably question why digital books would not prove more environmentally friendly than the printed counterparts. An electronic book does not involve paper and would take up less space than the printed books.
However, discussions of the environmental advantage of e-books tend to ignore the resources needed to manufacture and use them. Consider one study that equates one electronic reader to approximately 40 to 50 printed books in terms of the use of water, energy and raw materials.
A single e-book releases as much carbon dioxide as 100 printed books. Reducing the carbon footprint of an e-reader turns to a significant degree upon how many books you read electronically. Using the above ratio, you would need to read a hundred books on your e-reader to have the same effect on the environment as going to printed route.
Moreover, technological advances and competition among e-book sellers for customers result in upgrades to devices. Newer versions of the same product have larger screens, more capacity and increased features. Thus, a greater impact on the environment may result from the use of e-books.
Convenience and Productivity
Printed books, both new and used, weigh more than the slim line tablets and other e-readers. In fact, some e-book textbooks could fit on mobile devices that can be comfortably held in one hand.
Printed used books also come with their own set of conveniences. In your study sessions, you must often refer to content you have already read. With an e-book, this involves scrolling screens up and down. Often, you’ll scroll past what you need to see because of the smaller reading area than the pages of a textbook. With a printed book, you can find pages more easily and even mark them with a sticky or other tab. If you opt for an e-reader, consider the model’s capability for note-taking and whether the digital textbook you need comes with cross-references to ease your navigation between screens.
The many features that come with an electronic book can also interfere with your studies. Electronic readers have web browsers, social media capabilities, apps to stream sports and entertainment, and games. Such things become potential distractions to your academic pursuits.
The Highlighting and Notes
A textbook marked by prior users can offer insights into a particular course.
When practiced judiciously, highlighting draws your attention to important points in a text. Often, these nuggets include definitions of key terms, significant events and main topics that present reasons for arguments. Perhaps a professor emphasized the highlighted text as a possible or likely exam question or subject. You’ll find less value if the prior reader highlighted most everything.
Take note of books with different colors of highlights. The reader may have done this to code categories of concepts or distinguish definitions from examples or illustrations of those terms.
Beyond highlighting, a used textbook may bear annotations and other notes about the text being read or studied. Students’ notes may contain interpretations of passages from poetry or other literature. A history student may have outlined the key causes of a war in the margins next to the discussion of that war.
Have you used “used textbooks”?
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