By Ted Orbach
As the new semester begins, many students at County College of Morris and colleges nationwide will face the daunting task of paying for their often expensive and hard- to- find textbooks. In the face of rising textbook prices, major publishers, such as McGraw-Hill Education and Pearson, have started programs allowing students to use more flexible payment options for both textbooks and online access codes. Instead of merely accepting United States currency, publishers will now allow students to pay with their limbs, their everlasting and immortal souls, as well as increments of time off the end of their life.
According to a press release from McGraw-Hill, “We know how hard it is for students to finance their college education. That is why we aim to cut out the middleman and let college enrollees pay us in various physical extremities and organs that can be peddled on the black market, or if they actually need that stuff, in pieces of their eternal and transcendental being that we can trade to power hungry and infernal supernatural beings like Abezethibou and Drekevac.”
Many students at CCM are thrilled with the change in payment.
“Working at Starbucks doesn’t give me nearly enough money to be able to afford my textbooks this semester,” said Kim Fopir, a biology major at CCM. “Instead of depleting my entire bank account, I figured ‘Why not just sell Pearson my soul?’ I’m not really using it at the moment, and I need to be able to access MyUselessGenEdLab. Pazuzu, king of the demons of the wind, brother of Humbaba and son of the god Hanbi probably needs it more than me anyway.”
Andy Tupelo, an accounting major at CCM, agreed.
“It was very easy and a lot less painstaking than saving up all of the holiday money I made at work for my textbooks,” Tupelo said. “I’m a righty, so I don’t really need my left arm anyway.”
The textbook giants also have many more alternative payment plans that are being developed. According to a representative from Pearson, “Come 2019, we will begin allowing students to pay with: talents, special abilities or overwhelmingly positive traits that make them who they are and define every single facet of their being.”
These new options are garnering a lot of excitement on campus.
“I can’t wait until they let me pay for my $400 chemistry textbook with my ability to play guitar,” said Brad Comb, a meta-chemical engineering student at CCM. “Yeah, I really enjoy playing music, but that isn’t going to pay for college.”
Authors of many of the textbooks sold by McGraw-Hill and Pearson, however, are none too pleased with the companies’ decisions.
“Maybe if these kids didn’t spend their money on ornately decorated cups of coffee, they’d be able to pay me $250 for a book that features a bunch of information they can find online for free,” said William S. Spouter, author of Fundamentals of Post-Modern Physics. “Stop giving these spoiled brats an easy way out.”
Many of the authors want to revert back to the cash-based system because it is harder for them to receive “proper compensation for their work,” as Spouter explained. This is because it takes much longer for the publishers to get contacts on the black market or meet with representatives of hellish, otherworldly beings that exchange money for souls or talents that they can gain elemental energy from.
“It’s a long process, but the return is just the same as normal currency,” said James Nailbright, head of metaphysical chthonic demon-based transactions for Pearson.
“Alternative payment plans are making it easier on everyone,” Nailbright continued. “We want to make things easier on students’ wallets, even if that means being more strenuous on their physical and metaphysical well-beings.”