How old should a book be before a college stops using it?

@sedel1027 (17855)
United States
June 16, 2007 9:18pm CST
I have noticed that quite a few of the books I am using for current classes were published in 2001 or older and reference software that has since been upgraded. The college wants us to use the most up to date software, but doesn't use the books for it. Do you think this is right? How old (copywrite age) should a book be before any school should stop using it? Does it more have to do with the information being obsolete?
1 person likes this
6 responses
• United States
17 Jun 07
I think that in many subjects (art, literature, foreign language, etc), an older book doesn't make much of a difference and it saves students money to buy used copies. But in some fields it's more important to have the most recent information, so books can only be a couple years old. I know that science is one of the most expensive majors at my school because they update the books so often. Still, you can get by with older books as long as the professor is up to date and teaches the recent stuff as well using other sources or materials.
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
17 Jun 07
I think if there is a newer version of the book and it has changed dramatically since the last version, they need to update the books. I know in some of the traditional courses I have take, we were allowed to use the previous addition because there were only minor changes to the text. However, will technology courses, this typically can not be done. A book that is more than 1 year old can be obsolete.
@liyan97 (2128)
• Northern Mariana Islands
17 Jun 07
I think that the college should use books for up to two years before changing the books! I love to buy used books because it save me some money, but recently I have had to fork out more money on new books aka(the updated versions). I think it is nonsense and that the college only does that because they want to make more money from it's students! As if tuition isn't breaking the bank already!...lol....
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
17 Jun 07
Some of the books I am using are much older than 2 years! Most you can't even find used because no one has used them in a classroom. I hate spending $50 or more on a used book. The school I go to doesn't even run the bookstore so I don't think they even get any income off of the books. 99% of the time I don't buy my book from them. I buy all my books online from cheaper vendors and they costs is still more than I would like it to be for a book that is a few years old. I don't mind having to pay for the new book, especially if it is what I need. With technology course, I think this is a bigger problem than with general studies like art and science.
@Sailor (1161)
• United States
24 Jun 07
In my opinion a book never loses it's usefulness because it becomes a reference book. But as far as a textbook, when there is new subject matter, you should either receive a pamphlet with the updated information, or textbook.
@migenKC (792)
• Philippines
18 Jun 07
that's not right.... my college school is also using old books but teaching us the latest softwares... i am an IT student and i dont find our school lib a good source of information ever! i hate it when my teachers tells us to researh something but must not be copied from the internet... they wanted us to use the books from the lib and write the booktitle and author and everything but i hardly cant find such!! hahai.... most of us ended up having no reaserch work... and i always blame the lib...! suckS!
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
17 Jun 07
I think it depends on the subject. English, math, foreign languages, etc. pretty much have stayed the same for quite awhile. They may want to update books for graphics and stuff, but there is no need to update more than every 20 years (I hate that they update every couple years, it means you won't be able to sell back very many books each quarter). Other subjects really need more updated books. Medical and computer courses, for example. You don't want to be learning Word95 when we're already up to Vista.
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
17 Jun 07
I know that our department (nursing) will not use a book older than 5 years. If there is no new edition, we adopt a new text by a different author. Our reason is that in the medical field, things are constantly changing. Recommended treatment changes based on research findings, medicines become obsolete, new medicines arise, and much more. I don't know if other departments/fields of study have the same problem with textbook information becoming dated or not.