book in print - books online

Submitted by Susan Miller on Wed, 08/27/2008 - 12:14.

My friend and neighbor, Jim Sollisch wrote this article last year about the cost of college text books - the cost to students and to forests: Save trees; put college textbooks on the Web.

Just yesterday my roommate, a student at Case Law received a book in our mailbox that he said retails for $100 - he got a mint condition copy (used) for $25. He was delighted. Soon I will be looking at a bill for my son's Fall Quarter text books. Yikes! It's always staggering.

Now this in today's PD: Ohio college students get discounts on electronic books

I love a book - the spine, the cover, the pages. I have many books and enjoy reading anywhere including in the library for non-circulating works. I was disraught that my brother's beloved Oxford English Dictionary had to be disposed of due to the circumstances of his death and just yesterday my son pleaded with me to find a shelf for the old Britannica that I used throughout my Middle and High School years." You're not going to give THIS to Mac's backs, are you Mom?" But text books? If they can be online, they can be revised and republished and used time and a again by hordes of students without cutting down forests to do so. It's food for thought.

More food for thought on the electronic text vs. the book here at Tom Ball's Diary of a Filmmaker Blog: Sight Reading.

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Next wave

Downloadables are the next wave.  Will they ever completely replace the book?  NO.  You don't need to plug in a book.  It's as simple as that.  Yes--textbooks are a different animal all together and, as we all know, it's a racket.   Have your son look to the LIBRARY, Ohiolink, Worldcat, Interlibrary loans and digital access via the library. 

 There will always be a way to make money off of college students, but your son has the inside track to the books he needs for school.  Call me girlfriend :)


> Will they ever completely replace the book? NO.

To me, what's great about a great book is its content. I prefer the tree in its previous state.

> You don't need to plug in a book.

I only plug in my PDA when its batteries are depleted. I never plug in my solar calculator.


  Trees are renewable and we don't have to replace the battery EVER :)  BTW, I am not talking ultimatums here.  Digital books are GOOD for textbooks--but you shouldn't be charged to use them.

read between the pages

You pretend that no extra energy goes into Booking... Chopping wood, transporting lumber, pulping, bleaching, printing (ink!), shipping, sale, people transport, (even if it's shipped to a library, people still must travel to view.)

In digital, the [space|time|energy] cost of storing and rendering information to the "reader" drops over time, while the flexibility (in format and distribution) of the delivery of such [knowledge/experience/expression] only increases.

Ever imperfect, but improving (rather than static.)

I value and appreciate books, just as I might an antique mechanical clock. See W. Daniel Hillis on "Is Google Making Us Stupid".

No pretense

I don't pretend anything.  I never said that there is not inherent energy lost in the production of books.  I think that the testosterone levels have gotten way out of hand today.  We all need to chill.  Digital is not perfect and will never be perfect.  Nothing or no one is perfect.