Legalized Robbery

School has started, and as a college student I am preparing to be robbed by my college bookstore again.  I never fail to be astounded by the cost of textbooks, and the devices used by professors to get students to fork over huge amounts of money.

This semester I am taking two courses requiring textbooks that are large enough to elevate a small child at the dinner table.  Because they are technical manuals, they are phenomenally expensive.  My strategy is to enroll in the class early enough so that I can get the ISBN of the book and purchase it elsewhere, preferably used, in time for the class. is my current favorite textbook supplier; one of my textbooks this semester was $126.00 at the bookstore and $43.00 on….a substantial savings.

Occasionally my textbook strategy has backfired on me; if I get the title too early there is always a chance that the professor will change the text at the last minute, which has actually happened.  It’s not too bad if they just change editions, but I have had classes that end up being taught by a different professor at the eleventh hour, and they invariably have their own textbook requirements.  This necessitates finding a way to unload the unused book and I have a couple of favorite textbook buyback places that pay pretty well; and  Both websites give real time buyback quotes and free shipping for the textbook you are selling which is super convenient.

Even more irritating than paying big money for a textbook, is buying a textbook that is never used.  It’s one thing to require a big money text, but requiring one that is never used should be illegal.  You can imagine that I make a pretty big fuss about this on the end-of-semester survey!



  1. kevin jacobs said,

    September 22, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Have you ever used I heard they were awesome for comparing prices for you online to save you the most money.

  2. chickenminnie said,

    September 23, 2008 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for the heads-up. I did not know about that site, but you can be sure I will check it out!

  3. Charley said,

    September 23, 2008 at 7:35 am

    I was lucky that the majority of the professors I had at St. Rose made great efforts to keep costs down for their students and would shop around for the best book at the best price. The majority of my semesters I don’t believe I paid more than $100-$150 for a full course load of books.

  4. September 24, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Oh man. That makes me think back to my first semester at SUNY Albany. I think my first load of books cost something like $500. I wish had existed back in 2000.

    Fun fact: $500 in 2000, adjusted for inflation, is $636 in todays dollars.

  5. Brian Phillips said,

    October 6, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    yea is by far the best online site to use to find the cheapest textbooks. i’ve been using it for two semesters now and couldn’t be happier with the amount of money i’ve been able to save

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