General, Non-Lecture-Specific Questions

ID #2151

Is it mandatory that we get the most current edition of the textbook? The previous edition is much more inexpensive on some websites. And if it isnít mandatory, did the content between the two editions change much?


Fall 2013 edit to an old question:

We are using a custom textbook this fall that has never been released, so no used copies exist and this question is moot at this time.† Furthermore, the two textbooks that contribute chapters to our custom text are themselves new editions and old editions of either text are completely unsuitable for our purposes this semester.

Now here's the original answer to the question:

The previous edition is less expensive than the newer edition for the same reason that a 2012 calendar would be cheaper right now than a 2013 calendar -- it's outdated. Science textbooks get updated because, frankly, the science changes. As far as the changes from one edition to the next of a given textbook, the page numbers will of course be different, some figures will have changed, and some of the science will have been updated. If you are comfortable with adjusting the page numbers on your own (since they will be different than the pages of the assigned readings), and understand that some of the science has been updated, then I'm ok with students getting an older version of the text when one is available.

Here's the caveat, and it's an important one: if a student misses a question on a homework problem or exam because of a difference between textbook editions, that's the student's issue, not ours. That student is taking the responsibility for obtaining something other than what we required.

Is this likely to happen? No. But the disclaimer needs to be made up front just in case.

Print this record Print this record
Send to a friend Send to a friend
Show this as PDF file Show this as PDF file
Export as XML-File Export as XML-File