The Collegian
Monday, April 15, 2024

Textbooks from the bookstore: the eighth deadly sin

Greed. Lust. Envy. Wrath. Laziness. Pride. Gluttony. But wait, one is missing. It's that dirty, nine-letter word many of us here at Richmond are fighting 'til the death.

Let's face it: There's a war going on here on campus. On the home front, we are trying to protect ourselves from giving in to the convenience of the bookstore and the exorbitant prices that come along with it. It's an uphill battle, as professors require more books each year and constantly upgrade to the newest editions, which are more often than not IMPOSSIBLE to find anywhere else.

So, you end up paying $300 for one book. Yes, it's new and shiny, with that brand-spankin'-new smell that you LOVE. But little do you know, you'll use it only five times during the semester, and when you go to sell it back, there's an unyielding man that hands you a meager $15.

They're running a racket (to say the least), the bookstore and the textbook companies alike. Something like a chess game, where the bookstore and the companies play as one, and we students are the measly pawns.

BUT, the racketeers have no idea just who they're playing with, as on the other side of the table lies the World Wide Web. Among the Web sites that offer textbook services, is probably the most popular. At, there is a strong possibility that you could find a used copy of the same book that costs $300 in the bookstore for $100 or less.

So, you've found your book online, and are ready to order it, as you look on your syllabus and realize you need the book TONIGHT for the assignment due tomorrow. You spend an additional $12 for expedited shipping, and you still don't receive it until four days later, after getting a 60 on a pop quiz and falling a week behind in schoolwork. Is it really worth wasting the time and saving the money?

Finally, I write to the racketeers themselves.

Dear Racketeers,

Wow you guys really got it goin' on! Keep those prices nice and steep, because the students WILL buy them. I mean, they've probably got quizzes and projects the very first week — after all, this is U of R, duh!

And more than likely, having a textbook the first week will have a huge effect on these endeavors, so waiting around for and the like is out of the question. I'll be the first one to tell you that my parents will spend about $750 for textbooks that I'll never use again after December.

Doesn't that make you all happy? You've devised a brilliant scheme, and I just wanted to let you know that ... well ... I WANT IN! They say when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas, but if you dogs are making hundreds off of each student, you must be doing something right. Right?


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Kiara Lee is the new opinion assistant. Look for Liz Monahan's columns from abroad in the new travel section.

Contact opinion assistant Kiara Lee at

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