Avoid ‘capitalist sex cauldrons’: Take time in book buying

Avoid capitalist sex cauldrons: Take time in book buying

by Mark PleissNews Editor

After last year’s New Years resolution fiasco, I’ve decided to primp my life a bit in 2007. What I was left with were a number of fresh New Year’s resolutions:

1) Not buying my books at the bookstore.

2) Making better weekend (and odd days of the week and evening) decisions.

3) Finally start flossing.

For the last three years, I have shunned the voices of others telling me to stay out of the place once warmly referred to as a “capitalist sex cauldron.”

“Buy your books on Amazon,” they always told me. “You’ll save hundreds and hundreds of dollars.”

The pressure had become too much for me, and I finally decided to take these headless voices up on the offer, only to discover the bunny hole ran much deeper than I thought.

As it turns out, book buying shouldn’t be done in a day, and it definitely shouldn’t be done in 20 minutes at the bookstore.

Instead of the much easier method of voting, which would place politicians with sympathetic views toward college students in power that could impose sanctions on publishing companies, college students have taken advantage of technology to save money on books.

Amazon.com and half.com by eBay have given us an electronic way to stay connected against bookstores. I saved approximately $150 buying my books online, but 100 of those dollars came from my geology book.

Across the board, I saved money in smaller increments, typically $10 to $15, which of course adds up.

But, there’s always a catch.

This fabulous technological method of socialist book buying is highly fallible. The initial prices of the books are cheap, but the shipping and handling isn’t.

Also, at times it seems the same people who didn’t vote are the same ones shipping you your newly purchased books. Horror stories abound, especially from half.com, on students who never receive the books they bought or finally get them three months into the semester.

You must understand the book may not come, or it might come late, and if you’re only saving $10 by buying it online, then it’s definitely easier at the bookstore.

So what should you do?

As soon as you get your reading list, find your professor and get a list of the books you’ll need. Then you should go online. Check out those prices, and then check out the prices the bookstore charges. Weigh the pros and cons and compare the prices, then … no, don’t buy them yet.

Once prices have been established, find friends who have already taken the class. Some professors are notorious for barely using books or not even using them at all. If that’s the case, go in for a book with a friend.

Your last line of defense against high prices is old editions.

In reality, the bookstore isn’t evil. The publishing companies who jack up the prices are. Publishing companies put out new editions every year so students have to buy a new book and pay more.

Often times, one can buy an older addition, and while you may miss out on a newly colored text box (the Malibu Stacy’s New Hay Theory), you’ll save lots of money and still have almost the same text.

In the end, book buying is like eating at Pfeiffer Dining Hall and parking; it’s something that will always be complained about. Anyone who pays almost $30,000 a year for an education, room and board just expects to have everything covered, but unfortunately, that’s not the reality. So take time in your book buying.

And don’t forget to floss.