Letter: You get the textbook you pay for
To the editor of THE EAGLE:
I am responding to the recent letters by Emily Law and Autumn Bragan about the cost of textbooks. Yes, textbooks, along with many items, are expensive these days, but Emily’s solution has not given credit to professors like myself who try hard to select books that are reasonably priced but have value.
Students need to know that the credits they earn are based on a course syllabus and the textbooks used in any course. If a student transfers or continues to graduate school, the credits are based on the course content and textbook.
The problem I see is fair compensation to the author/authors and publisher. A textbook needs to be written before it can be offered free online and affordable in print. The old saying is true -- "you get what you pay for."
I have to ask Emily and Autumn how long would it take them to write a 500-page textbook? Any good textbook should include chapter objectives and end of chapter questions. Another question is, how many references are needed to write a 500-page textbook? The number will vary but the ballpark figure is 50 to 100 and all carefully documented and reviewed for accuracy by countless reviewers. Another consideration is the cost of pictures, tables, graphs and design. Students have the expectations of entertainment in their textbooks.
I would be happy to write one in black and white with no illustrations on plain paper and I will charge $5. Is this the solution you would like?
The writer is a professor emeritus at City University of N.Y.
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