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The $500 textbook...
Old 06-28-2017, 05:16 PM   #1
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The $500 textbook...

A neighbor and friend called yesterday and asked if I could help his daughter with her tax homework. (I know in these summer classes they cover the material pretty quickly.) I told him it has been a while but sure I'd try.

The instructor provided a case study giving all the facts to prepare a return for an individual. The return had a ton of interesting quirks.
-- taxable and non taxable interest and income
-- qualified and non qualified interest
-- gain on the sale of a personal car
-- alimony
-- a host of 'dependents'
And on and on ... we spent 1 hour and 45 minutes going over it. I think we had a decent product when I kicked her out. My knee was aching pretty well by then..

During our chat she told me the textbook for this course $500. More then I paid for a single semester tuition and books when I went so many years ago. I thought the $230 tuition was all the money in the world. How times change
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Old 06-28-2017, 05:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
A neighbor and friend called yesterday and asked if I could help his daughter with her tax homework. (I know in these summer classes they cover the material pretty quickly.) I told him it has been a while but sure I'd try.

The instructor provided a case study giving all the facts to prepare a return for an individual. The return had a ton of interesting quirks.
-- taxable and non taxable interest and income
-- qualified and non qualified interest
-- gain on the sale of a personal car
-- alimony
-- a host of 'dependents'
And on and on ... we spent 1 hour and 45 minutes going over it. I think we had a decent product when I kicked her out. My knee was aching pretty well by then..

During our chat she told me the textbook for this course $500. More then I paid for a single semester tuition and books when I went so many years ago. I thought the $230 tuition was all the money in the world. How times change
I remember most if not all of my college professors placed a copy of the text book(s), on reserve in the library for the broke students that could not afford the new or used text books. I guess just from the look of most of us they figured we were a rag tag bunch.
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Old 06-28-2017, 09:48 PM   #3
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What sucks in many cases, the prof uses a book he wrote or co-wrote and gets a cut of the profits from book sales. For sure college costs tuition and textbooks have gone up a lot since I was in school, just 30-35 years ago.
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Old 06-29-2017, 04:26 AM   #4
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yep, my oldest is at their choice of: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...vice_academies

so for the required courses their textbooks are issued, but for everything else they still have to buy or rent textbooks.

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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
During our chat she told me the textbook for this course $500. More then I paid for a single semester tuition and books when I went so many years ago. I thought the $230 tuition was all the money in the world. How times change
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:50 AM   #5
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What sucks in many cases, the prof uses a book he wrote or co-wrote and gets a cut of the profits from book sales. For sure college costs tuition and textbooks have gone up a lot since I was in school, just 30-35 years ago.
No change there for profs using their own book. I remember (1978) my physics class in Electricity and Magnetism. The "book", such that it was, consisted of a working draft of the prof's next textbook, passed out on photocopies. It was full of useful stuff like, "as shown in figure __, see page __, as discussed in chapter __." No figures included and your guess was as good as mine concerning the references to other places in the text.

Enrollment went from about 50 to 10 at the drop date.

At least I didn't have to pay for the book that semester.
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:32 AM   #6
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I took a Geology class at the local community college shortly after retiring. Being thrifty, I b ought a used lab manual instead of the $200 new version. It turned out that there were worksheets for the lab exercises that the previous owner had filled out, detached and turned in. Oops. (The prof gave me photocopies.) I thought that was a pretty sneaky way to make the manual useless after the first owner.

Either Planet Money or Freakonomics did a piece on the cost of textbooks. Part of the problem for publishers is that the market for used texts is so efficient now. In the 1970s you might buy them from friends or the local college bookstore. Now you can buy them on-line from anyone in the world, so fewer people are forced into buying them new.
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Old 06-29-2017, 07:15 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
I took a Geology class at the local community college shortly after retiring. Being thrifty, I b ought a used lab manual instead of the $200 new version. It turned out that there were worksheets for the lab exercises that the previous owner had filled out, detached and turned in. Oops. (The prof gave me photocopies.) I thought that was a pretty sneaky way to make the manual useless after the first owner.

Either Planet Money or Freakonomics did a piece on the cost of textbooks. Part of the problem for publishers is that the market for used texts is so efficient now. In the 1970s you might buy them from friends or the local college bookstore. Now you can buy them on-line from anyone in the world, so fewer people are forced into buying them new.
I like the 'this revision didn't change really anything, except the homework problems that I'll require you to do in class so that you can't just buy the used version from last year" textbook requirements...
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:30 AM   #8
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Since we are on an rant.....: what's even worse is all the "required" textbooks the students go and buy ahead of the semester and then the Professor doesn't even use them at all and considers them just for reference purposes. Huge waste of money, but the kids ARE catching on. Both of mine started ignoring the lists and ended up only buying the books that the professor actually used during the first couple of weeks of class. Also, more and more, the kids get their info from the web instead of textbooks (that can be dangerous, of course, with all the fake info out there). My DD's boyfriend is in medical school and he basically relies on Wikipedia - hasn't bought any textbooks yet and is 2 years into the program!
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Old 06-29-2017, 01:06 PM   #9
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That has been one of my biggest beefs with going back to school. For those who haven't heard the story, I am in law school. It's a long story...so I won't bore you with the details. At any rate, over the last two years, I have spent a little over $1700 on books. After re-selling them, I am "out" $1205. What is annoying is that most of them are "case books" which have very little in them except portions of legal decisions that are relevant to a specific area and can be looked up FOR FREE. It's really a huge scam.

When I was doing my undergrad stuff, I could never understand *why* there would be a new version of a mathematics book. Generally speaking, has math really changed over the last...oh I don't know...1,000 years?!?
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Old 06-29-2017, 03:02 PM   #10
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What I find to be the most horrific scam is the books that become worthless after a single use. No, not because the book was updated. Only because each book has a single-use code in it that allows the student to take quizzes on a web site.

Lazy professors insist that everyone buy the book (or buy a new code) so that they can avoid doing their job (creating, administering, and grading tests). Buying a code costs 90% the price of the book. I figured it was more than $1 per minute to use that web site to take quizzes. Super steamed!
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Old 07-01-2017, 11:27 PM   #11
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I missed this thread. Wow, $500 per textbook. My kid must not have purchased any because I don't recall she's asking for money to buy books. I'm glad she's now graduated.
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Old 07-02-2017, 06:57 AM   #12
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When I was doing my undergrad stuff, I could never understand *why* there would be a new version of a mathematics book. Generally speaking, has math really changed over the last...oh I don't know...1,000 years?!?
Well, someone did prove Fermat's Last Theorem!

Math was my major and the texts were very expensive but in the 1970s the excuse was that it took special typesetting because of all the formulas. I doubt the prices went down after the publishers started getting the books from the authors in electronic form.
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Old 07-03-2017, 11:13 AM   #13
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One of the "benefits" of Fraternity life during college was "the files". (diabolical laughter here )

An archive of every exam and answers for every course from every instructor. And, the textbooks to go along with the course. Although back in those dark ages the cost of textbooks was nowhere approaching $500 (maybe $30 max), the benefit was still real.

Actually, one text written by a particular instructor was very useful for me, as I referred to it frequently during a part of my career (microwave design).

Are these current textbooks hard or soft copy? Its there a discount for the soft version?

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Old 07-03-2017, 03:24 PM   #14
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One of the "benefits" of Fraternity life during college was "the files". (diabolical laughter here )

An archive of every exam and answers for every course from every instructor. And, the textbooks to go along with the course. Although back in those dark ages the cost of textbooks was nowhere approaching $500 (maybe $30 max), the benefit was still real.



_B
The files were great. Every once in a while you could go to a test and get the exact same test that you had looked over from the files. Or at least a few questions. Which allowed more time on the "harder" questions. Really showed which profs were lazy
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:03 PM   #15
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What sucks in many cases, the prof uses a book he wrote or co-wrote and gets a cut of the profits from book sales. For sure college costs tuition and textbooks have gone up a lot since I was in school, just 30-35 years ago.
I had a professor who wrote the best selling text book for Intermediate Accounting at the time that I was in school. He did use his text book for his classes but he donated all of the royalties from on campus sales back to the University. He was a gifted teacher and he had a lot of character and integrity as well.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:09 PM   #16
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I had a professor who wrote the best selling text book for Intermediate Accounting at the time that I was in school. He did use his text book for his classes but he donated all of the royalties from on campus sales back to the University. He was a gifted teacher and he had a lot of character and integrity as well.
Reminds me of a Cost Accounting professor I had when I was in college. He didn't write the textbook we used, but a friend of his did write it. And he included my professor's surname in a fictional company used in an example, probably the main reason he wanted us to buy that textbook.
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