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Save $4000 on college! (with 4 hours work)

How much do you expect to spend on textbooks? $4000 over the course of an undergrad only amounts to $500 a semester for 4 years and that doesn't even include grad-school or the occassional $200+ text. When I went to school I started off by buying everything and then seeing at least half of my money go right down the drain when the texts weren't even used. Next, I didn't buy any books and instead borrowed my friend's copies and had to make due with studying far in advance and repeatedly had the inconvenience of having to photocopie the odd sheet. Finally, I tried photocopying whole texts: a frustratingly long, wastful, occasionaly useless, process. Sometimes the photocopies weren't clear for the most crucial page, or they'd cut off part of an essential formula!

However, all this time there was a better, much cheaper, solution that I never thought of: scanning texts. This is only a feasible solution, however, if you are up to carrying around a latop, which isn't going to be a lot heavier especially if it replaces more than one text. The biggest advantage is cost: assuming you already have a laptop you only need a $100 scanner. You can even borrow a friend's scanner and the whole process is free. Compared to photocopying the time investment is aproximately the same, maybe an hour a book, but you don't need to spend $20-30 on photocopies and you can do the scanning at home, watching tv or listening to music. There are also no 500 page unstapleable stacks of paper to carry around and your digital text can be shared with all your friends. In fact, if 10 people all agree to scan 20 pages of a 200 page text the whole book will only take each of you 5 minutes! You can even all use the same scanner.

So, the tradeoff is really 5 minutes for a $100+ savings per course - the choice is yours!

Even the mainstream press is picking up on the un-reasonableness of textbook prices. The NY Times even ran a story about the trend where textbooks are delivered electronically. Connexions is also a place to check out. They have free modules that can be combined to teach yourself or others all sorts of things.