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Books Don’t Grow on Trees


A local community college professor decided to fight back. “The price of books for our students is just getting higher and higher and, combined with the rising cost of tuition, it’s killing these kids,” said Peter Jason, Ph.D. “Remember, students are one of the poorest groups of people in America. Almost half of them have at least one part-time job. In fact, one of my students has three jobs. She is a part-time sales clerk at a clothing store three days a week, then works three evenings a week as a pizza cook, and on weekends she does manicures at a beauty salon. And she still manages to have a high GPA and go to school full-time.”

Textbook prices are traditionally high. Adding to that problem, many college instructors change textbooks year after year; they either upgrade to a new edition or switch to an entirely different textbook. This further hurts students because if an instructor no longer uses a particular textbook, that book has no resale value.

Dr. Jason decided to make life a little easier and a lot cheaper for his students by writing his own book on public speaking. “Many books have an increased price because of bells and whistles: CD-ROMs, lots of color photographs, and lots of graphics. I talked to my students, and many of them, like me, prefer to keep things simple. So, during a sabbatical a few years ago, I wrote my own textbook. I made sure that it wasn’t long-winded. I called it Successful Public Speaking: How To Be Brief, Concise, and to the Point.

“Compared to most other public speaking primers, mine is half the number of pages, and one-third the price. That is, $30 instead of $90. Plus, it is published in a three-ring binder format. So, when I wrote a second edition last year, students only had to buy the 35 new pages and delete 35 of the original pages. For only $7.00, they had upgraded to the new edition. I’ve had great feedback from my students about this loose-leaf concept. Maybe the word will get out, and more writers and publishers will try it.”

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