Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Textbooks: Rent or buy?

How are you getting your books this semester? Do you rent them used? Do you buy them new? Do you e-read? Do you rent them new and then sell them used? I'm curious as to what is popular among TCC students. I, for one, love the invention of book rentals. It makes sense to rent the books you think you won't need in the future. But on the flipside, if it's a book that I think I'll reference later down the road I don't mind buying it.

There is a little mystery associated with buying or renting a used book. I remember when I was in high school, it was always fun to read the list of former owners on the inside front cover of a standard, school-issued textbook. If I saw that someone older whom I admired had once owned the book, it made me feel as if I had seen a movie star. It was as if somehow having their autographs in my possession made them my best friends, if only vicariously.

There is also something a little disturbing about used books. I heard something on TV about a research team that was studying the chemicals, fingerprints, fluids, etc., that readers have left on historically significant books. I can't find anything about it online at the moment, but the research intrigued me; this thought that books connect people, both with the thoughts they have going forward and the skin cells they leave behind. Kind of weird and kind of cool. Does this mean that we could theoretically clone a Founding Father from an old papercut?

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