Professors and Peasants

By: Alex Givens
Chattanooga, TENNESSEE(UTC/ The Loop)- A hot topic of discussion for years now has been the age old issue of text books. The price of textbooks is no joking matter for college students.

Each semester students will shell out hundreds of dollars for textbooks, and in some cases books that will never be used in class.

Further, should professors be allowed to require students to purchase textbooks they wrote? Maybe this is a part of some huge scam the university has going on in an attempt to keep the money circulating within the walls of the University. Does it seem fair to force students to pay hundreds of dollars for a textbook that benefits them?

The argument has been brought to the table that it is not fair to ask students to purchase textbooks that are written by the professors of the classes that they are taking. Where does the money from these purchased textbooks really go? Are the professors pocketing a hefty portion of these funds and putting it towards their vacation home in Cabo?

Here is a list of reasons why some students do not believe in purchasing textbooks that their professors have written… or purchasing textbooks at all.

1. “Buying a textbook that your professor has written is ridiculous. It’s like, I am paying to take your class and you already know everything about the subject so why can’t you just teach me the information instead of making me buy a 200 dollar book?! You could just give me a packet or TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO KNOW.” – UTC Sophomore Kayla F.


2. “What really makes me mad is when I pay a ton for a textbook and then it is just full of crap that I don’t understand or we don’t even use it! Why did I pay all of this money for a book that we never use from a teacher who already knows everything that is in it.” UTC Senior Faith D.


BUT… There is a reason that professors require students to have textbooks. In order to have in depth discussions about material, everyone has to have their own copy. True, some teachers do not use their textbook and they should take that into consideration each semester, but most of the test material is based off of facts that originated from textbooks.

Here is a list of reasons why it is necessary to buy textbooks:

1. Some students, myself included have chosen not to purchase textbooks hoping and praying we can skim through the semester by the grace of Google and Wikipedia. Some teachers require weekly journal entries based on chapters from the textbook and if you don’t have the textbook you may open your first assignment and think to yourself…


2. Yes, purchasing textbooks is a pain and looking at the final total may feel like someone drove a stake through your heart like Buffy the Vampire Slayer,but professors require textbooks based on the assignments that will be given in class. Sure, spending 400 dollars on textbooks may leave you feeling like you need a heavy drink…

But, professors are trying to make sure that you are fully prepared for any assignment that they may potentially assign during the semester. They also want students to have as much information at their fingertips as possible to learn as much as they can in the four years that they are in college.

Aside from the usual “I don’t want to buy a book that I will never use” argument there is also the argument of “We are already paying to take the class why should they get more money from us?” Here are some things most students are not aware of

– 78% of what students pay for textbooks are publisher costs (copyrights, printing, etc.)*
– only 11.7% is what the author makes

Take a moment to think about that. If your textbook cost 100 dollars, your professor only profits 12 dollars. That will buy them one movie ticket, not even a midnight premiere ticket.

– Schools are proud of professors that have dedicated their time into transcribing their knowledge into text so their students can benefit from it.
– If professors only assign the textbook they have written because it feels like they have covered all the necessary material they are saving YOU money.

There is a balancing act that must happen between students and professors. Students should feel free to express if they are not using their textbooks enough. It is their right as students and consumers of education to give feedback and let the professor know what they need. It is then the professors responsibility to listen to this feedback and take it into consideration for the required text the next semester. So pep up, and play your role either as a student or an educator.




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