I got an email today about ordering a new edition of the comp textbook. If your students buy texts every semester, then you're pretty much stuck ordering whatever edition is available, and that means as soon as a new one's available, that's that. It's in the interest of publishers to put out new editions fairly frequently, so that students don't just buy used copies. I'm sure there are some fields where a new edition every two or three years is really important, but first year comp doesn't seem to be one of them.
But, with our rental system, we can order an edition, and use it for several years. Students pay a set fee to rent however many books they need for the semester (though some are purchase texts, depending on what's available and the professor's choices, and such).
Still, when a new edition comes out, the publisher wants us to change. One way to push this is to make it impossible to get desk copies of the older edition. And that's what's happened here. Someone is teaching this edition for the first time, and thus needs a new desk copy. And that means to keep confusion from being overwhelming with two different editions of the "same" comp text, the publisher is pushing the bookstore to switch over. So the bookstore is pushing the department folks, and they're sending out the email.
And here my laziness becomes apparent. I don't want to use a new edition because I have really good notes written up for the edition we've been using, and using a new edition means I have to revise the whole class to take it into account, and the write a whole new set of notes. See, I'm lazy. Except the difference is that I can quickly review notes and pull out a quiz for a chapter before class, while if I have to read a chapter, it takes significantly longer. And if I'm going to use a text more than once (as is usual for comp texts), or if it's an important text for me, I try to take really good reading notes so I can use them again.
For example, for the second day of my comp class (the first day for which they've had a reading assignment, and thus expect a quiz), I give a reading quiz. My quizzes are open notes, closed book, so students who take good notes have an easy time. And then after a few minutes, I stop them and ask them how many feel confident about their quiz. Most don't, so I tell them I won't collect it, and then I hand out a copy of my notes for the chapter, which are six pages long (for the current edition). That's a wake up call for the students, whose notes usually consist of a few lines, because they haven't been really taught about notetaking. Then we talk about how to take notes, and tricks of the trade (like putting page numbers, bibliographic info, a date, using arrows and boxes to mark important stuff, etc.).
Taking really good notes on a reading for the first time probably triples the time it takes to prep that first time. And then cuts the time at least in half thereafter. So it's worth it, but I don't want to do it this coming semester. I'm especially reticent because we're teaching a new common text AND we're being treated to a combination of furloughs (aka pay cut) and increased class sizes. Talk about a disincentive to add work.