This week is the perfect time to discuss books and e-readings as O-Week is coming to a close and the spring session is beginning. All of you, if you haven’t bought your books from the UniShop already, will be buying them in the next couple of weeks. I know this, not only as a student, but also as a former employee of the UniShop who helped my fellow students find important books for classes, two years ago.

Buying textbooks

Textbooks and/or e-readings are expensive and one way to get a reprieve is to apply for the EdStart grants that the uni offers to undergraduate students every session. For those of you who don’t know, the grant offers selected students who are eligible for the grants (usually students like me who live off Centrelink payments and/or come from low income homes or receive a low income) $500 to purchase necessary goods from the UniShop as well as money to cover large amounts of necessary printing (apologies for the postgraduate students reading this column as they are not eligible for EdStart).

Unfortunately, as far as I know anyway, university textbooks are not tax deductible, my best advice for those who know that they are undertaking a subject that involves reading a lot of textbooks or require printing a lot of e-readings, is to save money. I know how hard that is for most of us, myself included, so another suggestion is to buy books second-hand, students are selling them all the time. The Alumni Bookshop across the road from campus is constantly selling textbooks. Feel free to comment if I’m wrong on books being tax deductible or if you have other ways of buying books or coming up with the money.

Printing e-readings

Some people think that e-readings are cheaper and sometimes they can be, not to mention, they are less bulky than textbooks. However they too can be nearly just as expensive, especially if you have a subject that has a preference to e-readings rather than hard copy books. During my creative writing studies, I most likely would have printed out over 1000 pages of e-readings and to do that I went through money on my student card over and over again, I also went through a couple of binders to store the e-readings.

My advice on e-readings is similar to that with books, apply for EdStart if you can and if not save some money and don’t forget to buy a binder to keep them in. If not, just read them off the screen, although when you have a lot, printing them prevents eye strain.

What I’ve learnt from textbooks and e-readings

During my creative writing studies, I also read novels as well as textbooks, I read textbooks more in my journalism studies. To tell you the truth, it was hard to take everything in, so I often wrote notes from the chapters. I can’t say that I didn’t learn anything from textbooks and e-readings, however it wasn’t so much that I learnt purely from the textbooks and e-readings, more that I learnt more from the discussions that would arise in class based on the texts both from textbooks and e-readings. A discussion of texts brings up different ideas and perspectives that are both beneficial for assessments as well as the mind—you can often see things in a different light during and after class discussions.

This session, one of my subjects is Literary Journalism, which I have already briefly studied for another journalism subject I completed in autumn session of this year. Literary Journalism involves reading several books, so much so that the first two weeks of session are reading weeks with no classes, in order to get through them. To read the books, I have to buy them of course, so on that note, I hope I see you all, if not most of you at the UniShop and around campus next week, look out for the woman reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood on her way to the creative arts building.

This column originally appeared on Tertangala and can be found here. 


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