Textbook Reading Hacks: Is the book THAT important?

According to a Huffington Post article published in January 2013, students will spend about $650 on textbooks each year; this doesn’t count the cost of additional supplies students are either required or encouraged to purchase. A year later, the Huffington Post published another article stating that students don’t necessarily even purchase textbooks due to the high costs.

Here is how I choose a book for my Introduction to Oral Communication course. These are listed in the order of importance I rank things, from greatest to least.

  1. Content. The book students buy must serve a purpose and help scholars learn the key concepts of the course
  2. Reading. Reviewing the same sections in a variety of books, I looking at how texts appeal to a variety of reading abilities and learning styles
  3. Price. Starting with the publisher’s suggested retail price, I search for ways to reduce the price (different binding, formats, or reducing unnecessary content, etc.)
  4. Extras. If the text offers online access, printed study aids or review questions, or other resources to scholars, this is a HUGE benefit!
  5. Assessment. How this textbook evaluates content knowledge matters to me, and I look for ways to ensure that this evaluation reflects course goals and objectives.

That’s why I chose this edition of Human Communication in Society. By opting for the dual format, you save about $40 off a new text price. Yes, it’s more expensive than buying only the used print edition; however, a student can use the online resources in a variety of ways. (I will be posting about some of the REVEL features in a couple of days.)

A parting thought for you: your exams are largely based on understanding your book’s content. Keep that in mind as you make the decision to purchase and use the book!

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