Dear Sabio Students,
Your textbooks tend to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you need one at home, it’s in your locker — and vice versa. So fix this: Have one at home and one at school.
You have one copy that was lent from your school, so you just need one more copy. Text books are very expensive. Pr-college students don’t realize this because someone else is paying for them, but they’re all more than $100, often $200. You might be tempted to sell your book now knowing its price, but don’t. (First, selling someone else’s property is illegal. Two, you won’t get much because chances are your edition is an old one, for which no one will pay full price.)
Old textbooks are actually incredibly cheap, even after just a year or two old, which is the key to your gain. If you look up on amazon.com or ebay.com, you’ll find your own textbook sold for less than $10, often less than $1. You’d be silly not to spend that extra few bucks to have a replicated library at your home. In fact, you could have your whole collection of high-school textbooks at home for less than $100, and often less than $50. Just imagine that. You wouldn’t have to carry textbooks anymore. You can fill your lighter bag with things you need to take, such as your notebooks.
You might find times when your textbook is the latest edition, so it’s still expensive as a second-hand book. In that case, buy the previous edition. Sure, you won’t be able to do homework because the problem numbers don’t match. But you’ll still have a more or less identical textbook. Bring this old edition to school — because you can always look at a friend’s book to get the updated information during class — and leave the current one at home to do your homework.
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While you’re at this, buy textbooks from other publishers and other authors on the same topic. It won’t have your homework assignment problems, but their different explanations will serve you better. For instance, if you can’t understand something written in your school’s textbook, even though you’ve read it over three times, then the way it was written does not fit your style of learning. That’s right. Blame the author for not being clear! Switch over to another book for a different explanation that resonates in your brain. Reading different explanations often helps. It may explain that missing link that prevented your full understanding. When I study something important, I always have three different books on the same topic, which let me see the same material from three angles. My understanding is invariably improved.
Today is a great time to have your own home library. You can always get a ride to and from the regular library, but what a waste of time: The obstacles, such as finding a ride, slow you down and keep you from going in the first place. If you do go, with any luck the book you want is already checked out. Why go through these difficulties when you can have a home library?
At the beginning of each school year, copy the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) of your books (you can find it on the back cover) and buy them cheaply on Amazon.com or Ebay.com. Look for similar books and buy those too if they are very cheap. You don’t even have to read all them. This is how professional scholars study: They have many books they’ve never read — and might never read — filling their libraries. But the point isn’t to read every word. Instead, it’s only so that in a pinch, they have at arm’s length whatever extra information they need. You should also have this information-in-waiting, if for no other reason than because you can have it so cheaply today.
You might say you don’t need this because you’ll just buy e-books. Although e-books are far more convenient, you can’t find a 50 cent world history textbook in e-book format, i.e., they’re still more expensive than used paper books. Whenever I move houses, I swear up and down never to buy another physical book. And, indeed, I mostly get ebooks these days. But the used-textbook bargain is just too good. In fact, they are cheap enough that I can leave them behind when I move. Or I can donate them to a library and get tax credits, which you could also do and get the tax credits for your parents. Or I can sell them back … at about 20 cents apiece.
So buy your library now.
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