Textbooks to the Eskimos

AK.jpgWith all the worry today over the high cost of college textbooks, the internet looked like something of a solution. Go online. Order the textbook online, pay with your credit card, and three days later it’s at your door. Bookstores don’t have to order the books in advance. The system generally seemed to work out pretty well.

Unless, of course, you go to school in a state so far away that it occupies its own time zone, the school that bills itself as “America’s Arctic University.” According to an article by Steve Kolowich in Inside Higher Ed:

When the University of Alaska at Fairbanks moved the textbook portion of its bookstore online three semesters ago, university officials thought the move would make it cheaper and easier for students to buy their books. What they did not count on was how much harder it would be for distributors to get students their books in a timely fashion.

The trouble was that the books didn’t arrive to the University of Alaska, a college more than 2,000 miles from Seattle, the nearest major American city. Almost 10,000 students routinely had no textbooks at all when class began. So the school’s opening up its regular bookstore again. Technology only takes a school so far when the school is, well, so far. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer