UNITED STATES—Over the course of my educational career I have read many books, and obtaining an undergraduate degree in the field of English, I’m certain I’ve done a lot of reading, maybe far more than most people think or even suspect. However, I’ve learned in the collegiate arena sometimes the price of a book is far more expensive than what it should be.

I can recall taking courses where we’d have a ton of books to purchase. Yet, we’d only utilize the book 1 time the entire semester. It drove me bonkers and I’ll tell you why. For starters, these books weren’t cheap, and they HAD to be purchased new, there were no other options. However, what bugged me the most was when at the end of the semester you plan to return the book for a little of cash, and guess what the book is not being used, which means you’re out of $20, $30, $50, $75 or $100 or more. Students need every single dollar possible and wasteful spending in my opinion is not smart.

Some would argue what can one do to prevent such tactics. Well, I purchase the book needed for the class, made copies of all the chapters and sections of each book based on the syllabus and utilized those copies as my book. Then I return the book for a full refund. I’d rather spend $10-$15 for copies instead of spend $100 and be stuck with a book that I NEVER plan to read again. It’s a smart tactic in my opinion and more students should become inclined to do the same thing if you ask me.

To be honest, I think considering the high tuition costs for college, that our books should be free. I mean if I’m paying nearly five to six thousand dollars a semester for my education, the least the university can do is cut me a bit of slack and allow me to have my books included in the cost.

I mean is it not enough that I have to pay for tuition, room and board or housing and I also have to pay for books for the semester. I mean how much is too much for one student. Survival of the fittest requires cutting corners anyway possible to save a few bucks that can be used for those unexpected expenses that occur throughout the school year.

In the past, I would question why so many courses utilized such a heavy load of reading material each semester. It seemed more like a tactic to keep students thinking they had a load of homework, and then a lot of the time the material would NEVER become a topic during class discussions. Yes, this has happened to me on more than one occasion. It was almost like the university required reading material for every course to show that the class is serious stuff.

However, whenever I took summer courses, which were primarily online courses, not once did I ever have to buy a book. All the course materials were available via the online educational system we used. Even the professors made things a bit easier by presenting PowerPoint presentations that contained the vital information that students needed to be aware of. Why can’t more professors think like this? What is the point of reading every single chapter and page in an 800 page book, to never once actually utilize the material from that book in the course? You might think I’m joking, but I’m not, I’ve had professors that would force us to read tons of material, then present class presentations and more than 75 percent of the material from the book never appeared in exams or was brought to light during classroom discussions.

So it begs the question rather books are really needed in course material? The answer is yes and no. It means utilize the books when necessary to present a point to students and then utilize class presentations to decipher the rest of the material. Don’t just force students to read for the sake of making them read, make it a point where it is clear the reading material has a vital point to the overall study of the course study. Books are great, but only when the book itself has an impact on what the student is studying and if they remember it.