Staff Editorial: We've got myCourses, isn't it time for myBooks?

Now that myCourses, the Web-based portal that allows for easier interactions between students and professors regarding classroom materials is in place (and has gotten, as far we at The Lamron can tell, a fairly positive reception), it got us to thinking: Isn't it about time the college really took the next step and instituted (cue catchy name) myBooks?

To say that textbooks are tremendously expensive is hardly a novel statement. Because of this fact, it's also no surprise that some students are opting to buy their books online rather than at Sundance Books. But the fact of the matter is that it is still relatively few that undertake this time-consuming initiative, which usually involves individual e-mails to all professors for the coming semester.

We propose that the administration mandate that in addition to having professors tell Sundance what books to supply, a single definitive book list for all classes be collected at the end of each semester, posted to an easily-accessible page on the college Web site and then heavily publicized.

Now don't get us wrong: We've got nothing against Sundance. Sure, they could probably stand to charge a bit less than what they do without sending all their employees to the poorhouse, but everybody has to make a living, right? And there's no doubt that for a significant portion of students, the convenience of having Sundance close by and ready with all the books for their classes is right up their alley, and they wouldn't have it any other way. Let's face it: Despite the Internet, the college bookstore as an institution isn't going anywhere.

But the reality is that many more students would undoubtedly take the initiative to buy their books elsewhere (likely saving a significant amount of money) if such a list was posted online and students were told about it. It's no secret that students tend to be lazy, but if the college took the relatively simple step of facilitating easy access to a book list for all classes, they would be doing a huge favor to everyone, and far more students would take advantage of the opportunity to save a lot of money.

The entire notion of publicly-funded colleges is to offer a low-cost yet excellent opportunity for higher education. If this is the ideal to which the SUNY system strives, why would the college not take action towards lessening the still-significant costs by instituting myBooks? It sure seems like a no-brainer to us.