Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Few Observations on Books

Another fall, another group of freshman.  Here are a few comments about books from the beginning of fall semester.

  • Freshman are clueless as to how to buy their books. It makes sense. They never had to buy their books in high school.  Though you would think an RA or someone would tell them about buying books. (This observation comes from seeing dozens of hysterical comments in the freshman facebook page.)
  • Freshman still buy a lot, maybe even most, of their textbooks from the bookstore. They pretty quickly figure out that it's less expensive to buy them online.  But initially they think they MUST have the textbook for the first day of class. Of course that's not true, and there are many classes where the textbook is rarely used.  By sophomore year, they mostly seem to buy them online.
  • Anecdotally  we seemed to have lots more inquiries at the circulation desk from students asking if we have their textbooks.  Is it because of the downturn in the economy?  Are tour guides telling them we have textbooks?  WE have some, especially in the Carlson Science and Engineering Library, but certainly not all of them.  I wonder if we should pursue them more aggressively?
  • I have one freshman who is renting an online textbook. Who knew???

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