Textbooks?

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    Getting ready to start my BSN program in the fall. So far in my schooling I have been able to save a ton of money on my textbooks by buying the older additions. Many of them are not much different than the latest version. My question is, will this still be feasible in nursing school? Any experienced people out there who do the same thing?
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    It depends on the class. for example pharmacology, I'd say an older edition could be big trouble, especially since so many drugs are removed and introduced each year. A few of my classmates tried using pharmacology editions that were only 1 edition behind ours and had a lot of trouble as so much of the information had changed.

    In Mental Health and pediatrics there were also significant differences. However, medical-surgical nursing there were not many differences between the older and current editions.
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    I have used older editions of books many times. Definitely email your professor to see if it would be okay. If your syllabus has readings listed as page numbers, then it will be very tedious to figure out which pages match up to your edition. However, if they are listed by chapter, I have found they are usually the same. If your teachers use the same powerpoints semester to semester...your edition may match up exactly to the diagrams and specific page numbers in the powerpoint your teacher wants you to review. This has happened to me a lot, and my professor will say "oh, those are pages from the old edition so look at pages xyz instead..." lol
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    Thank you both for your quick replies! I will do a little more research then. It's so worth it if I can save a hundred bucks!
    nursing81student likes this.
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    A friend of mine has completed half of her accelerated BSN program using almost exclusively texts that are one edition older. However, she seldom does any of the readings and instead uses her texts as supplements for information that was unclear in class, so for her, it hasn't mattered if the readings are listed by chapter or page number.

    It also depends on how each professor tests. Many will tell you that they test on lecture AND the book, but really they are covering their behinds in case they forget to say something in lecture. In reality, their tests are easily prepped from exclusively (or very nearly exclusively) lecture notes. Then there are the professors who really lecture on only a portion of the material over which they will test, expecting you to read for the rest of the material.

    I've had both types of professors. Best to ask around to students 1 or 2 semesters ahead of you to find out if what the professor SAYS matches what they actually DO.
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    Based on the professors I've had, I wouldn't do that. Often they will reference a page or table in lecture, and a test question or two will come from that. It likely wouldn't match up with a different edition, and that would create some extra work for you that you likely won't have time for Also our reading lists are often scattered; with certain pages from chapters listed. But that may be the way my school breaks it up - it'd probably be best to talk to current students who are in your program.

    I've had good luck with watching prices on amazon and buying the books from there. If you have a .edu email you can get a free amazon prime (free 2 day shipping & some other discounts) account. The last two semesters I bought my books brand new from amazon for much cheaper than the school bookstore, then posted an ad when the semester was over and sold my books to someone in the next class for only about a $30-$50 loss from what I paid on amazon (which was still less than the bookstore USED price). I do try to make it a point not to highlight too much and I copy the pages from the study guides so I can sell them without writing. Last semester I paid about $280 for all my books on amazon and sold them for $250 through an ad on the bulletin board outside the campus bookstore.
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    I agree with Clovery that with some professors, it would be at best, a lot more work to have one edition older and could at worst, be a total disaster from missing/different info. On the other hand, for other professors, it's not a big deal at all and can be a huge savings to buy one edition older.

    Using an examination & assessment text by Jarvis as an example:

    Current edition, new, list (bookstore price): $109 (no shipping, bookstore)

    Current edition, new, Amazon: $90.09 (free shipping). Save 17% from bookstore price. And of course you have the option to sell the book at the end of term for an even lower net price.

    Current edition, used, very good: $54 + $4 shipping = $58. Save 47% from bookstore price -- and you have the option of selling it back to Amazon for $44 (minus $4 shipping) = $58 - ($44 - $4) = $18 net cost

    One-edition-older, used, like new: $12 + $4 shipping = $16. Although you save 85% off the new bookstore price, a more fair comparison would be the used current edition price of $58, which means a savings of only 72%
    but one downside to that savings is that you are unlikely to be able to sell it to anyone else. Also, you may not have supplemental CDs and you are very unlikely to get online access (though I have for SOME one-edition-older texts). Comparing the one-edition-older price to the used current-edition, there's almost no savings if you sell back your used current-edition copy for $40 (net)

    As you can see there are a lot of non-financial factors to weigh. Are you the kind of person who keeps their texts or are you OK with selling it back? Do you normally find the included CDs and/or online access stuff useful? What is your instructor's exam/lecture style -- is it heavily tied to the current edition text?

    When you talk to people 1 or 2 terms ahead of you, you want to find out the teaching style of the professor that you will have (exams based on lecture material or lecture and textbook) and whether or not the supplemental materials are useful (i.e. CDs and online access codes that one gets when buying new, current editions). Obviously if you learn that the instructor includes materials from the text that are not in his or her lectures, you're going to need a current edition. Similarly, for some texts, having the CDs or online access are well worth the price of a current edition text. But then again, depending on your specific professors, it may be possible to get by with one edition older for 50% or more of your texts -- or even sharing a current edition and/or using library books (either traditional check out or reference desk copies).

    As long as you're talking to someone one or two semesters ahead of you, might as well ask them about supplemental publisher study guides and third party study materials such as Davis Success series or Pearson (formerly Prentice Hall) Reviews & Rationales series. Some courses you'll find out that the publisher study guide was horrible and sometimes that it's fantastic and well worth the extra cost. Others, you'll find out that a particular third party NCLEX style question guide is particularly representative of the types of questions your professor will have on the exam.

    In the end, it's unlikely that anyone on AllNurses will be able to tell you for sure what to do, particularly since no one can post instructor names telling you about their courses/exams to help you with your decision. If you don't know anyone ahead of you, then my personal choice would probably be to not gamble on the one-edition-older. However, if you can network your way into talking to some people ahead of you in the program, you might find out that you can achieve significant savings with the one-edition-older texts and/or other options previously mentioned.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by IndyElmer on May 4, '12 : Reason: missing content (incomplete sentence corrected)


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