The cost of textbooks is rising faster than inflation and Hammond doesn’t feel right forcing his students to purchase ever more expensive books on top of their already expensive tuition and fees.
“I think it’s immoral because of the cost of it,” Hammond told the Central Utah Daily Herald.
Having worked at the college bookstore at Pitt, I can tell you that this type of derivation from the textbook hierarchy is rare. It likely has something to do with the fact that most professors – probably – are in the pocket of the textbook publishers. I can’t tell you how many times we laughed at the downright ludicrous slip sheets that some textbooks came with, describing how the book was “updated with new charts!” Somehow, this change of two or three pages in a eight-hundred page biology text was worth charging students somewhere around $175.
The sad part is that the negligence on the behalf of educators can only lead me to two conclusions, neither of which are flattering in the least: professors who blindly order these books at such a high cost are either a) simply too lazy to find another comparable text at a lower price; or b) they are being paid too well not to research other books (hence Mr. Hammond’s “immoral” angle). Both scenarios are pretty much completely unacceptable.
Hopefully there are more individual professors with a conscience, like Mr. Hammond. Change is slow, but if the prices keep going up, something will change eventually.
And if you really want to save money on your textbooks, you should just become an English major. All of my books I had in college were either copies of essays or nonfiction books that I’ve kept to this day and wouldn’t get rid of anytime soon. But even I was not totally exempt from the wickedly expensive textbooks – I still have my statistics book from sophomore year. It makes a fine coaster to this day.