Posts Tagged ‘textbooks’


Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

And spam is in my inbox. Welcome back to the Farm.

It’s that time of year again folks: Spring Quarter. That glorious time when, regardless of how cold it is, people are sunbathing because the sun’s out. That time when we all just slack off the tiniest bit because you’d rather play out on the Oval. Our school actually looks the way its portrayed in our brochure. It’s beautiful.

But it’s also a hot mess in email account. Despite efforts by the ASSU and individual efforts among dorm staffs, people use their dorm chat lists for the sale of their textbooks and other items.

Honestly, this really has nothing to do with Spring Quarter (I just like to keep thinking about how pretty it is outside). It’s a recurring problem that sprouts up at the beginning and end of every quarter. Its annoying. It’s obnoxious. And its brilliant.

The reason why students will continue to send out sale emails on their chat-lists is because it’s inadvertant advertising. If you want to read your email (which you really can’t escape doing at this school) you have to also read about the iPad, futon, and Math 51 book that people are trying to foist off on others. Even though the Book Exchange is relatively easy to explore, there’s nothing easier than seeing that one random email that’s selling the perfect book. These emails have actually saved me quite a few bucks in the past.

So while I want to escape it, I can’t really see how this cycle will ever end. And I guess, do we really want it to?

How do you feel about for-sale emails on your chat list?

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Going Digital

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

When you're faced with a stack of newspapers and the sleek Kindle, is there really any need to figure out which is the better option?

I’m not a fan of digital textbooks. Before my hard copies come in the mail, I’ve been forced to pore over previews provided by Google Books. Besides the fact that the books have put me to sleep once or twice, the experience wasn’t otherwise enjoyable.  Having to stare at the tiny letters for over an hour isn’t my idea of fun. But if I wanted to stay caught up while waiting for my real textbooks, I had to persist. I did – but only grudgingly.

Yet, every quarter I think I find more offerings to download my books online. For the most part, it’s cheaper. And it’s also greener. There are no production costs and no paper used! While this may seem like a blessing I’m frightened by the downfall of the physical textbooks and regular books. I stare at a screen all day anyways; I prefer not have to stare at it while I’m enjoying light reading. Yet I could metaphorically hear the nail being hammered into the coffin when I got the news that Borders is filing for bankruptcy. Barnes and Noble is still strong since it’s riding the ebook wave with it’s eReader the Nook but there doesn’t seem to be demand for companies that just sell books in print.

Borders has always been a favorite store of mine. While Barnes and Noble seems almost formal with its bustling Starbucks carrying customers and forest green designs, Borders has always seemed more comfortable and relaxed. I’ll be sad to see its stores go. But in order to survive you have to compete. Without an e-reader out, Borders doesn’t really stand a chance.

Something that’s even more telling of the popularity of digital texts is the rapid growth in the tablet PC market. After Apple’s iPad launch last year, it seems like other computer companies are scrambling to catch up in the race for the best tablet. This year brings us the Apple iPad 2, Motorola XOOM, HP TouchPad, and more. More people than ever own tablet PC’s. A tablet PC isn’t the same as an eReader, but consumers purchasing more and more of these products it doesn’t make sense for the average person to own both devices. People are going to have to choose but either way, the ebook market wins.

Even public libraries have jumped on the digital bandwagon. It’s inevitable that sometime in the near future, people will be more reliant on ebooks than traditional hard copies. Even in the past few weeks, I’ve talked to students deliberating between buying a Kindle or suffering through carrying their books around. And considering Stanford’s efforts to be both green and up-to-date with current technological trends, it’s a wonder of how long it will take our student body to make the conversion. For print texts, with its popularity declining, the end may not be imminent but it’s definitely getting there.

O, and in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, if you’re a fan of e-readers here’s a few gift ideas and deals.

Stanford for Dummies?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Stanford for DummiesTo welcome the spring shopping season, the Stanford Bookstore has added a prominent display of “for Dummies” books near its right entrance. The decision to purchase these volumes and  feature them so conspicuously seems bizarre, given that Stanford possesses some of the nation’s brightest minds and has (supposedly) tried to cut wasteful spending. Particularly ludicrous is the inclusion of Twitter for Dummies…isn’t that the point of Twitter?

The odd assortment leads one to question how much faith the Bookstore managers have in students’ intellects. Perhaps this assumption of ignorance also explains the exorbitant prices they charge for textbooks. Alas, students are not as dumb as they think; many opt to buy their books on Amazon in lieu of getting ripped off.