Wanted: Your book opinion

Hi, friends. I’m going to buy a book, and I need your help deciding what shape this book should take. By that, I mean: Nook file or hard copy? I’ll set out the facets of my particular dilemma, so you can give an informed opinion. Though a shoot-from-the-hip opinion would also be helpful. 🙂

Okay, here’s the deal. I just finished reading History and Refusal by Stephen N. doCarmo, a fantastic and excellent book on the relationships between consumerism and postmodernism in American social politics, as seen in contemporary American novels. It is one of the densest but best setups of the various debates raging within postmodern literary theory and is going to become an absolute MUST for my dissertation prospectus. Obviously, I need to own a copy so I can desist from marking up my university library’s copy, right? ALSO: the introduction sets up this debate fantastically, and I feel like it would be a perfect companion to a contemporary American class or an intro to literary theory class (either of which I *might* teach, if I’m very lucky in my career). Plus, the chapters on American Psycho and White Noise have some of the most interesting critical analysis on each of the texts and would again make perfect teaching companions for these novels.

So…in checking out Amazon: I could buy a new hardcover for $45, with a used book running about $47 at the cheapest. Google Play does not have an ebook for sale, and the hardcopies direct me to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble has a hardcover for $53, with a Nook file for $30. Ebay has a used copy for $37 (I think), and Alibris.com has a used copy for $37.

I’m honestly tempted to buy the Nook file. I could have it uploaded to my computer AND my Nook. Plus, my bookshelves are double-packed already. Actually, make that bookshelf. My cheapo grad school bookshelf I bought from a shall-not-be-named Stuffmart Consumerist Conglomerate was just not going to survive the move to our new apartment. My Sister and I tore it down with shocking ease, and so now I have a stack of about nine beer boxes sitting in an empty space where a bookcase will eventually stand. So, I’m not *exactly* suffering for books.

BUT: if I buy the Nook file, have I then gypped myself of being able to utilize for my students? My current graduate institution has a fantastic system called ARES, in which you can provide the chapter/book/article, they upload it to a protected site, and they pay the royalties so there’s no copyright infringement. Of course, every institution is different, and some just want you to have the password protected site like D2L or blackboard. My thought is, if I buy a hardcover, then I can make a PDF or hard copies to then share with my students in the appropriate and copyright-appropriate channels. But if the library has a copy of the book, I could just use the library’s copy, right? Of course, assuming the library has a copy of said book and I don’t have to resort to ILL (which is fantastic, but takes time for the requests to be fulfilled).

I’m *clearly* overthinking this, but I want to throw my money at the best long-term solution. So tell me: what is that solution?




Filed under Books, Doctorate, Teaching

3 responses to “Wanted: Your book opinion

  1. meghan

    I’m generally opposed to buying books in hard copy because it’s such a ripoff by the publisher. However, in a case like this where you’re going to refer to it multiple times and use it for teaching, I would make an exception and pay for the hard copy. When you think of it in terms of number of times used, it will pay for itself.

  2. Do you find that you read differently onscreen than on the page? I was able to read and annotate articles for coursework on screen, but for research reading, I still feel like I need paper.
    If your main concern about the Nook version is ability to use it with students in the future, I say go with Nook and make pdf’s from the library copy.

  3. DJ Ian

    I dunno…can you mark up an ebook? If the creation of helpful marginalia is one of the reasons you want to own your own copy, the purchase of an ebook doesn’t really help you in that department.

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