The renovations planned for Moore Hall, slated to begin in 2006, will force Bowdoin to find a new, permanent home for its textbook annex. This move provides the College with an opportunity to reevaluate how textbooks are bought and sold by students.
The annex is well ordered, its staff exceptionally friendly and accommodating, each with knowledge of Bowdoin's professors, course offerings, and required readings. The process of purchasing your books is made relatively painless?until you reach the cash register. At a time when the price of a Bowdoin education is one of the highest in the nation, the cost of textbooks only adds to the burden on Bowdoin students and their families.
There is a way to work to alleviate this weight. The College should release textbook titles to students before each semester begins instead of only listing such information in the textbook annex. This would give students time to research their options, such as surfing online book stores and auction sites. Some sites may offer cheaper books; some may charge more. If it is the case that the mail center would be overburdened by a flood of textbook deliveries at the beginning of each semester, surely it could be flexible and perhaps hire more students to work during that period. But the fact that students are expected to simply come to campus with no prior knowledge of the books they will be expected to purchase is unreasonable.
Institutions of higher learning thrive on easy and open access to information. That the College does not facilitate any method for students to obtain information about required textbooks goes against this basic tenet.
Students may well discover that the superior service they find at the easily-accessible textbook annex could prove to be their best option. However, Bowdoin prides itself on allowing students considerable freedom in making their own choices. The College should extend this philosophy to more of students' financial choices as well.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.