Friday, January 28, 2011

On Textbooks and my Miserly Spending Habits

Hah. I would think that too.
Classes have been picked, and so have my pockets. Wallets everywhere cry over the amount of money that college students spend on their semester's textbooks. As an English concentrator, I know that I shouldn't complain; soft cover novels are considerably less expensive than hard cover textbooks. However, when one class requires purchasing 6 or 7 novels, the overall price rises fairly quickly.

And let's not forget about coursepacks. They're deceptively expensive. Today, I spent over 70 dollars on what is really no more than a collection of handouts connected with a plastic spiral. This is how I managed to spend over 135 dollars on 5 novels and one coursepack, but NO TEXTBOOK. But this is only for one class.

Why so costly?

Coming in at nearly 90 dollars is my new volume of The Norton Shakespeare. To be fair, however, this tome contains basically all of Shakespeare's works and is 3,419 pages (including indices). It's a very, very heavy book; more than just my wallet is crying over my acquisition of this volume. On the up side, I'll never have to purchase a work of Shakespeare's ever again. Ever.

I haven't cracked the spine yet and I'm already afraid of it.

For all of my complaints, I'm genuinely glad that my concentration rarely if ever requires the purchase of true textbooks. The idea of spending 100 or 200 dollars on one book makes the Ebeneezer Scrooge inside of me shiver and shudder.

But he was never in the red, now was he?

I know, I know, all of these books can be found for less online, but when one factors in shipping time in relation to when reading and assignments are due, students must know their class schedules well in advance to really effectively utilize the internet as a bookstore. For the rest of us mere mortals who can't seem to decide on what to print on our study cards until the morning they're due (of course I'm not describing myself...) we're stuck purchasing our books on campus at the COOP, so that we can do the homework that is due at the next class meeting.

Overpaying is the new Crimson.

The COOP is really where students go to part with their cash. Debit cards are drained and wallets are emptied. To any college student, textbooks represent inevitable extortion. There's really no way around buying them from somewhere whether it be the bookstore or online. But for the love of cash, buy used over new.

Yes please.

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