Wednesday, September 02, 2009

ITE, Can You Really Afford to Buy Whole Textbooks?

Textbooks are expensive. Very expensive. At Courts and Commerce, even the * used * version of my Criminal Investigations textbook ran something like 86 dollars. 86 dollars?! That's enough for a week's worth of lunches at Scott Common's, or about 1/4 of a parking pass! (Of course the new version is even more).

What does the clever entrepreneur do? Easy: go online to, or some similar website. Now, don't waste your time with books that are classified "Like New", "Excellent", or "Very Good" - you want to go down to "Acceptable" - which is internet code for "barely even still a book" - that's where the real bargins are. Be sure to pick the sketchiest sounding seller you can find - somebody like "cashmoneytexts" - and you'll know you have the cheapest deal.

Observe the above - I bought the textbook for $18.99 and its only missing the cover and some of the pages - where as a used textbook from the bookstore - provided I could even get a used textbook - would have run more than four times as much. How much y'all think I can sell it back for?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I went to the Bookstore and checked what a used copy costs: $85.50.


Barnes & Noble said...

I'm not sure if you know this, but here's a random tidbit for you.

In most novels, if you look in the fine print of the back of the first or second page, you might see a warning that goes something like this:

"If you bought this book without its cover, this book was reported destroyed and no money was earned by the publisher or the author."

A lot of times, book publishers and magazine publishers over-publish their products and over-stock in bookstores. When the bookstores can't sell them, instead of shipping back all the unsold books & magazines, they rip off the covers to ship back and receive credit, and then they destroy the book itself. (this saves on shipping costs).

So... basically, you might've bought what's considered a stolen book. I guess it's a victimless crime, but it's technically still a crime. Not a big deal though.

J. Crew Model said...

Decent point, but with one major caveat.

I used to manage a bookstore (no lie), so I have some experience with this. Typically, publishers and distributors will only tell bookstores to rip off the cover when the book is a trade paperback, i.e. will actually cost more to return then the book is worth. Think trashy romance novels that retail for $6.95.

Textbooks have real value to publishers, so I doubt they're just asking for the covers back - especially with current editions.

And in the vein of douchbaginess/whininess at UVA, here's two other minor corrections.

(1) The publisher "giving away" a book considers itself a victim. Same thing with the author.
(2) Publishers don't overstock - bookstores control their own inventory.

Anonymous said...

if you were really being cheap, you'd just print the cases off of westlaw.

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