Are you sick and tired of buying textbooks at uni? They’re so expensive, don’t you wish you could use an e-book for all of your courses? Before you argue e-books are the future and uni textbooks are on their way out, you might want to rethink some of the points below!
1. Textbooks are way more expensive than e-books.
Just like sleeping through a lecture or looking after a drunk friend during O-Week, being broke is a university student’s rite of passage. What better way to legitimise the fact you’re eating tinned beans for dinner than being able to say “I had to spend all my pay on textbooks!” to your housemate? Never mind the real reason you’re broke (you lost track of in-app purchases from Pokémon Go, or forgot about that sweet Herschel backpack you clicked ‘Pay After Delivery’ for), textbooks are a total waste of money.
Joking aside, pricing textbooks in Australia is a complex issue. Buying through local distributers keeps revenue here and supports the author (who, let’s be real, is probably your lecturer) but high costs can highlight serious inequity. Spotted a student who’s stuck using gross library copies of the prescribed texts? Remember how lucky you are to have new ones. Then befriend them, study together, and invite them to your place for dinner (just make sure it’s not a tin of beans).
2. Textbooks can take ages to arrive.
So you took your list into the university bookstore in Week One like a model student, only to find out your lecturer was late to get their order in so it’s another week before any copies will arrive? Fear not. Regardless of whether you need it for a first year subject of hundreds or a postgrad course of only a few students, any delay between starting the semester and getting the textbook is a welcome (and sometimes expected) one. While all those suckers in your tute paid to instantly download an e-book and have no excuse not to do readings and speak up in discussion, you can sit back and relax for an extra week. Nice.
3. Textbooks are a pain to carry.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live on campus or very close by, carting heavy textbooks between home and the library is frustrating. Also – let’s not forget when it’s the end of term and you want to travel but somehow you’re still expected to be working on assignments and submitting essays during the break. Who wants to take textbooks along on a holiday?
Fortunately, nothing adds gravitas to moments of feeling overwhelmed quite like the sound of heavy textbooks thudding down onto a desk. Next time you join friends for a study session and cry “I’m so screwed for this exam!” or have to attend a 9:00am tute because you need the attendance mark and want to voice your disapproval, try using the weight of your textbooks to your advantage. You’ll feel better.
4. Textbooks are updated frequently.
This, I’m told, is a big problem for law students. Sometimes through no fault of your own you end up studying in a field where the policies and guidelines change every year, and so too do the key texts of the trade. This renders the older editions useless (which here means: impossible to sell to someone else). No girl would be caught dead quoting from last season’s Australian Master Tax Guide, am I right? Which leads nicely into the next point…
5. If you’re not careful, you get stuck with textbooks forever.
If your textbook gets updated, or you forget to list it for sale until late in the semester, or you spill a coffee on it while struggling to multitask, it’s likely now yours for life. But don’t despair.
Textbooks have many handy uses around the house that save time, money and effort! They make great paperweights, can prop up a wonky chair or be used as a stepladder to reach the top shelf in the kitchen. Use your textbooks as doorstops. Hollow out the middle and store treasure inside them. Stack them on top of your housemate’s textbooks and play a life-threatening game of Jenga in the lounge room. The possibilities are endless!
Textbooks are also physical reminders of the knowledge you crammed in during your years of study. Sure, you didn’t read every page, but they’re definitely much more impressive than the bit of paper in a tube that the VC handed you during graduation, and will look fantastic on the bookshelves of that corner office you’ll score one day with your qualification. We can dream, right?