With Spring Quarter fully upon us, most of us have already made our way to the UCen to buy new books and sell our old ones that we wish we could burn instead (OK, maybe I just want to burn mine). “Cash for books” should really be called, “We’ll steal your books for a buck.” I paid $100 for a sociology book and if I sold it back I would have gotten around $40 for it. Then those bastards at the bookstore would have turned around and sold it for the used book price of $87. Damn, that is a big freaking markup. This quarter I decided to try and sell my books to other students; that way I was getting back at least 50 percent of what I paid, and they got the books and readers cheaper than they would have at the bookstore. Everyone wins!
Not a quarter goes by when I don’t spend at least $300 on books and readers. I don’t like readers either: $45 for a giant reader that you can’t sell back, so you are stuck with a bunch of random excerpts from tons of books that you will probably never buy. Awesome. Those “special order” books, made just for UCSB, yeah, that’s just another way to screw the students because we have to pay whatever they want to charge, since it was specially made. Why should I have to pay extra for a book that doesn’t even have all the chapters in it? It is nice to know that some of the teachers get upset at the prices of our textbooks, so it is not just the students who have a problem. I have one teacher that set up a special price for our “special” books and even included a certain percentage for the bookstore markup, so we ended up paying $20 more than we were supposed to. The teacher was highly pissed and even went to talk to the bookstore. Next class meeting, we found out that we can get a whopping $12 back! Holy crap! That is almost not worth walking from Campbell Hall to the UCen to get.
It is not just our school, either. I have a friend who works at the bookstore at Chico State, and she knows for a fact how much they overprice and rip off their students. One nice thing I do have to say about our book sell-back policy is that we are able to highlight, draw pictures, rip off covers and practically destroy the whole book, and still have the ability to sell it back to the bookstore. At an old school of mine, if you so much as bent the cover it was deemed crap and handed back to you. I don’t know what I used to do without highlighting my books, but then again at that school you never read the whole damn book. Luckily college isn’t too long, so soon enough you won’t have to complain about book prices. But for now, try and find your books on craigslist or half.com.