Friday, January 18, 2013

Anarchist Rant

Sometimes the rules just piss me off!

The first day of class, two main things happen: you find out what textbook you have to buy and you are given the first reading assignment. At this point you have two options: buy the book at the book store (or rent it which still gouges you) or order it for significantly less online and wait for it to arrive.

If you choose the first, you'll be able to complete the first reading assignment. But who can afford the insanely inflated prices in the isolated bookstore market? The publishers know we have to buy these books, so they raise the prices and put out new editions constantly. For some reason, most teachers go along with it, insisting that you have the latest edition even though there may be no changes since the one they put out last year. Sure, if an even later edition isn't coming out, you can sell them back at the end of term, but for significantly less. It is a racket, people.

So most of us just order online, getting older editions and accepting the risk of being a little lost sometimes.

But what about that first reading assignment?

Invariably, at least one student buys it outright, so why not just scan their copy? Like you would notes from a class you missed. The chapter could be emailed to everyone in class or better yet, put on Blackboard. (Blackboard is a website most campuses use. You have a section for each class where assignments are posted and you get grades and the teachers send announcements. Only people in that particular class have access.)

Here's the part where I got annoyed: I suggested this in my speech class and was shot down by the teacher who referenced copyright laws and today a mass email was sent out to all students warning of extreme, life-altering, debilitating fines for peer-to-peer sharing of any copyrighted material.

Please, publishing companies, don't have a heart attack. We are all going to buy the book. We wouldn't even consider going through the trouble of scanning the whole darn thing. What I'm talking about here is a chapter to get us by until our books come in.

Well, eff the first assignment. I am waiting on my book. Which is an older edition I got from a student who couldn't sell it back to the bookstore because it was no longer the latest edition.


  1. I'm not a good enough person for your suggestion. Unless I had crazy scholarships paying for my books and everything else, I wouldn't be cool sharing something I paid for with anyone but close friends.

    If you have the money, this is what I used to do. I would buy the book from the bookstore and go immediately to the campus copy center. Then I'd photocopy the chapters I needed (or the whole thing) and return the book. It could be time-consuming, but it would save me tons of money.

  2. Why would you call yourself out for not being a "good enough person?" If one follows your logic, it's your belief that sharing your textbook with someone beyond your inner circle would improve you in terms of personal self worth. If that's the case, then why not go ahead and muscle your way through your niggardly tendencies in an effort for improvement?

    Perhaps if you reread the post, you will see that the intention of the proposed copying is not to rip anyone off, be they students or book manufacturers. Lily makes clear "We are all going to buy the book." So what's the problem? Giving a few people a scan of the first chapter of the book wouldn't cost you a dime and it wouldn't mean that anyone's going to ride your coattails.

  3. I stand by what I said. I think it takes a better person than I am to share their personal belongings with strangers. It's my belief that doing nice things for people and making their lives easier is a part of what being a good person is. However, my personal boundaries do not make this option viable for me. I set that boundary on purpose, so there is no need to change on my part. There are varying degrees of "good", and I do not need to reach the echelon in this area.

    Perhaps if you reread my comment, you will see that I did not criticize Lily or anyone else for getting copies of the textbook chapters from classmates. I explained how I did the same thing, so I'm not sure how you got the idea that I had a problem. I don't understand your defensiveness.