Editor, Daily Nexus,
Writers like Ted Andersen (Daily Nexus, “Selling Off Your Arm, Leg and Spleen for a Quality Education,” Jan. 15) need to fundamentally reconsider how they buy books. After all, you ante up tuition, so it’s foolish not to own the books the prof thinks complete the class. And why sell back books that would otherwise be a lifetime reference? Consider this:
Every 100 pages takes 50 photocopies (shrink and get two pages at once) to reproduce, and (with practice) about 10 minutes. That’s $2.15 for the copies and $1.00 for your time (at about minimum wage). If it’s 100 pages or less, you can probably make do with a heavy-duty stapler. Any more and you’ll want a cheap binder from Staples (about $2.00). Scale that up: Does your 500-page book cost more than $17.75? Consider copying: You get to keep the book after the class, and you only need to lug around those pages you need.
So the real question is whether that 100-page book of Hindu wisdom is worth $3.15. I think you will find, with some reflection, that is indeed worth the investment. And it leaves money for lunch …
Ted is right. Nothing but decreased demand will lower the bookstores’ and distributors’ markups. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t find a way to read the books anyway.