Heard this during a seminar on textbooks at Friday's Minnesota state student leadership conference in Bloomington:
In high school, you have 30 students in a class, and the school has 30 books. If you lose a book, you pay full price (to the school). Why can't we do it that way in college?
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Seems reasonable -- especially for core courses such as calculus, which one student at Friday's leadership group said "hasn't changed in hundreds of years."
Answer from Todd Digby, ad-hoc textbook adviser for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system:
College is not as standardized. It's more fluid. Professors may wish to change their book from year to year, and colleges and bookstores might suffer storage issues and costs if faculty decide not to use a particular book that year.
Ah, fluidity. An expensive commodity. Is it worth the price?