Loose-Leaf Textbooks: Good or Bad

Written by a Student Contributor   // March 7, 2013   // 4 Comments


By LeQuita C. Harrison 
CCBC Essex

For college students it is a must to buy textbooks for their many courses. When it is recommended by the professor it would most likely be used in class or for homework assignments. Students, depending on what major they are taking, can decide whether the textbook is important to their future career and keep the book or like most students sell them or give them back to the bookstore.

The national average cost of books and supplies hovers around $1,100 per year (considered as two semesters),” according to Scholarships.com article Books and Supplies. When tuition and fees are included in the cost, students end up with loans over $20,000.

“According to a CNNMoney.com article, Average student loan debt nears $27,000. Blake Ellis states, “Of the 1,057 colleges in the study, average debt per graduate ranged from $3,000 to $55,250. At 114 colleges, graduates had average debt above $35,000, while 64 colleges said that more than 90% of seniors graduate with debt.”

Colleges say they are trying to help students when it comes to money. They give out scholarships, grants, and even rentals for books, but something new is beginning to enter the bookstores. Loose-leaf textbooks are slowly taking the place of bounded textbooks.

“I was prepared to buy my textbook for math but when I saw it was in loose-leaf instead I sorta got annoyed,” says an anonymous CCBC Essex student shopping in the bookstore.

Although, loose-leaf textbooks are said to be lower than the actual bounded books some students wonder if they are paying the rest of the amount by buying big binders.

“I don’t see the point in buying a textbook when you have to find a way to keep all the sheets together,” a CCBC Essex student said while shaking her head in the school bookstore. “A textbook is supposed to be a textbook.”

For some, these new loose-leaf textbooks can be a nuisance especially when one has to keep up with all the pages. Many students wonder if buying loose-leaf textbooks traps you into keeping the book not being able to resell during “book buy-back” periods. If a page is missing or ruined, it can also intervene with a student deciding to sell their own books to other students taking a similar class.

Some also wonder if this could this be the works of the author? Some authors do not like the fact that their books are being resold online for lower prices by students. This could also place a slight affect on the school’s effort to continue their supplies of new textbooks for one single course.

In an article called, Medical Education Guide no 16: Study Guides–Their Use and Preparation, R. M. Harden sees loose-leaf textbooks on a different note. “An added advantage of the loose-leaf format adopted for the pediatric guide was that sections could be individualized to the needs of the different hospitals in which the trainees were working.”

The article further discusses how students can benefit from these textbooks especially when it comes to one’s personal careers and needing only one section of the textbook. Although, he speaks only about medical students in this article, this can go for others as well.

Students with an interest in Math or English can take sections from the loose-leaf textbook to help them with their continuing education. Other courses such as Philosophy, Business Communications, Foreign Language, and even Art, can allow a student to take out only one unit from their books without having to lug the heavy bound book everywhere.

Still the use of both types of textbooks clearly offers positives and negatives. Only time will tell how the ever-evolving world of college textbooks will further adapt to technology. However, before electronic textbooks become the only real option, it appears we will be seeing more loose-leaf texts for many years to come.

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  1. Pingback : http://blog.ccbcmd.edu/connection/opinion/loose-leaf-textbooks-good-or-bad/ | LeQuita C. Harrison

  2. By news, May 29, 2013

    Perfectly pent subject matter, thank you for information. “No human thing is of serious importance.” by Plato.

  3. By Bev Fasciano, August 11, 2013

    These days of austerity and relative panic about taking on debt, some people balk up against the idea of utilizing a credit card to make acquisition of merchandise and also pay for any occasion, preferring, instead only to rely on this tried in addition to trusted method of making repayment – hard cash. However, in case you have the cash available to make the purchase in whole, then, paradoxically, that’s the best time for you to use the cards for several good reasons.

  4. By vernessa, September 14, 2013

    I love the idea of looseleaf. I can take whatever chapter i’m using and keep it in my folder and carry to class. I don’t get why students are worring about losing pages. The last time I checked we’re all adults who should be able to take proper care of things Yes including pages and keep track of what we do with them. I’m praying every book comes with this option.


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