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No More $300 Textbooks
“Textbooks are too darn expensive.”
No, that’s not a sticker-shocked parent, but veteran business professor Terry Scout explaining why he’s changed his approach this year in the introductory course he teaches every year, BUS 202 Principles of Marketing.
“Publishers change editions every two years, which means a very narrow window for the used-book market. I wish I could give you a noble pedagogical reason for not using textbooks, but my primary motivation was financial. I wanted to save students and their parents money.”
So this semester, instead of one $300 textbook (the new hardcover price for Price and Ferrell’s popular marketing textbook, required last year), Prof. Scout’s students have bought seven trade books on marketing. All seven add up to just $100.
Replacing a textbook has had advantages that go deeper than savings, Prof. Scout says. “Textbooks are rather bland and non-controversial. I would like students to be excited about what they read, and to learn that science is never settled—which means there’s always controversy.” To encourage students to think about the books, they are required to turn in a reflection on each book—about every two weeks—and consider how each might be pertinent to marketing efforts by Washington College itself.
Prof. Scout acknowledges that high-priced textbooks do come with many slick teaching aids, and that higher expectations for reading and writing put a heavy burden on students. One student is feeling the pressure: “If I could ask for anything,” says Richard Grouser, “it would be for more time to read the books.” But, like every other student, he’s happy about one thing: “I am extremely glad that Prof. Scout did not make us buy a $300 textbook.”
What students are reading in BUS 202 Marketing this year:
- Hine, I Want That! How We All Became Shoppers (Harper, 2003, $13)
- Lewis and Dart, The New Rules of Retail: Competing in the World’s Toughest Marketplace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, $18)
- McDonald, How to Market to People Not Like You (Wiley, 2011, $14)
- O’Reilly and Tennant, The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture (Counterpoint, 2011, $11)
- Pine and Gilmore, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theatre & Every Business a Stage (Harvard Business School, 1999, $13).
- Poundstone, Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It) (Hill & Wang, 2011, $11)
- Silk, What Is Marketing? (HBR Press, 2006, $20)