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The Globe’s Point – Non-required reading

Written By Editorial Board

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In the similar fashion of LinkedIn profiles, the theory that you must drink eight glasses of water a day and “shirt and shoes required” signs of establishments at the beach, college textbooks just truly are not required.

It can seem this way, anyways. You can only stand so many emails from professors at the beginning of each semester threatening the demise of your GPA if you don’t manage to acquiesce the book for the course.

Thank goodness for Amazon rental and online PDFs, because if we were to buy every book that every professor referred to as “required,” we would be even more broke than we usually are.

Sometimes this wariness (or what we like to refer to as “The Great College Textbook Conspiracy Theory”) means that we consider most emails that include “required textbook” in the subject line as completely dismissible. True, this sometimes causes problems down the line—like when your only friend in the class (who blindly bought the textbook) is sick with the flu and you have to refer to for the open book quiz. Things like this happen. As a cheesy stock image once said on some Buzzfeed article, fear is temporary; regret is forever.

We imagine you might be scanning this page with skeptical eyes, newspaper-reading person. It might seem like another common complaint coming from the millennial masses—books cost too much. So what? Everything in college costs too much. And textbooks are worth it, right? They’re academic-driven, not pleasure- or leisure-based, and they’re helping you earn the degree you’re (hopefully) going to make a living with for the rest of your lingeringly long life. Right?

Wrong! According to the National Association of College Stores, the average price of a new textbook increased in 2007 from $57 to $87 in 2014. And guess what? The substantial gap between the price of new and used textbooks has grown vaster—with used books rising in price from $49 to $59 in recent years. Altogether, according to a College Board report, students spend $1,200 on average on textbooks. That’s a big chunk of change for something that sits on your radiator for about four months.

Whether you pay for your own college education or your family foots the bill, we’re dishing out hundreds of thousands of dollars by the time we reach graduation day. We do things like save coupons for frozen yogurt for months in an attempt to save approximately $2. We work the hours of a grown adult at internships for no pay. If we continue ann ually wasting over a thousand bucks on books we never crack open, there’s bound to be a riot somewhere.

Professors, be transparent with your students about which textbooks are really required and which ones are not—especially with the young, impressionable freshman students. We beg of thee.

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