We’ve all been there. We’ve all had to buy/rent print textbooks for college. What if the college bookstore doesn’t have any? Now what? Most people would go online to look for college textbooks. If they couldn’t find what they were looking for by title, and author they’d probably use the ISBN number. (that number with all the dashes on… I think it’s the back of the book) Instead of the title/author/edition number. I know because I’ve done this. There’s nothing like practicing what you preach.
I know I complained on twitter that finding a certain print edition of a certain book is difficult. Don’t get me wrong, it is. The good news is that I finally found the book I was looking for, and am now waiting on my order to get here.
I’m getting slightly sidetracked. When I sat down to write this wasn’t the focus of this article. Instead I want to focus on how hard it is to obtain an accessible version of a textbook. EG. .txt, .pdf ETC. Note: I’m writing this as if it’s happening right now, but here’s what I went through in a nutshell.
I did the “type in the author/title/book edition thing, and I couldn’t find it. So, I typed in variations of those things, and I still couldn’t find the correct edition. I can find individual chapters, which is grate, but not the whole book. I even tried typing in the ISBN number.
Today I’m going to try typing in the publisher. Usually if you do this the publisher’s website will show up in the search results. The keyword here is “usually” because nothing happened. I can’t find the publisher anywhere. Which is ashamed because I really wanted to request that textbook in an accessible format. Why is this so complicated? *imagines pulling out own hair. Doesn’t feel any better.*
Okay so, what if I have the cousin look. No luck there either. As she got the same results as me. I can buy a P. D. F. for from $67 up to $100, but with most of these offers I have to buy the print version first. Plus I’m not really sure how much money I have to spend. So, I’m just going to say none.
Okay, back to the drawing board. Amazon? Nope!Bard? (long shot, but worth a try. At this point I was getting desperate.) Still nothing, though I didn’t actually think there would be. How about Bookshare? Okay, this is weird. Every time I search for the author/title/edition, nothing. I’m not sure why, but my gut says they have the 9th edition. Too bad because my syllabus says that I need the 8th. 🙁
*fills out a book request form, sends.* *waits until the next day* *gets an email back asking if I can use the 9th edition* *responds with “Not sure. The one I requested is the one in my syllabus, so I would assume not”* The response says that it’ll take awhile to format it and stuff. No big deal. I know that. I can wait. I have the print version, so someone can read it to me. I’d prefer to read it for myself, but it’ll do for now. *emails instructor about using the 9th edition, recieves no response.*
Now, here’s the thing I’m not proud of. I ranted on twitter about being asked if I could use the 9th version. I’ll get into an explanation of that in another blog. I also realized after the fact that I should have went further with the coke and Pepsi thing, and say that it’s like being asked after you already said “Coke.” When asked what you would like to drink, but I didn’t. Long story short I felt bad about writing that, and I apologized. I’m sure you can find said rant on twitter if you really want to read it.
Long story short they are now going to add the 8th edition, but it’s going to take about six weeks. I’m glad they’re doing that, but it sucks that I have to wait so long.
This all took place within the period of three days. I should probably point that out. I didn’t start looking for it before hand because I thought it would be easy to find. Plus I hate downloading syllabuses a few days before class starts. Because if the professor/instructor changes anything, then you have to go re-download the syllabus again. Lesson learned don’t assume that finding a book in any accessible format, or any format for that matter is going to be easy. If you can start looking before your class actually starts, and you can feel yourself slipping slowly behind. Because you don’t have the textbook you thought would be so easy to find. I know I’ve definitely learned this lesson. P. S. I still can’t find the publisher’s website, and the office of disability services can’t find them, or a P. D. F that isn’t going to cost them an arm or a leg.
Thanks for reading!