Oh dear, sweet Jesus at the Bookstore!
Because many of my students struggle to pay their way through my middle of the road regional college, there are always book questions. They try not to buy the most recent edition, and score older books at pennies on the dollar. I admire it, really. And every once in a while when someone pleads with me to let them NOT buy the current edition, I say "Go ahead."
And then this semester happened.
The current book I use is in its 8th edition. By looking at half.com, Amazon, and Alibris, I see the 7th edition available very cheaply, some more than 80% cheaper than the current offering.
Then I had a visit from Clark. He has the 4th edition. It looks like someone ate it, digested it, washed it off in a mud puddle, and then stitched it back together just for me and Clark. Clark needs to know where my reading assignments are in his edition, but Clark doesn't even have all the pages of the 4th edition. I'm flipping through mine; he's flipping through his. Sometimes I see chapter titles that are the same, but then exercises are different. Sometimes whole sections of the new book simply don't exist in his.
Cleo, who has a 7th edition, offers to help.
Cliff, who has a 6th edition finds that his is more like Clark's than like Cleo's or mine. This, I tell Cliff, doesn't help at all.
It's a minor thing, I know. I know I could have angry students, non-communicative students, students with attention deficit ... what was I saying?
But it's my misery, and I'm going to stop entertaining the "old book" club.