The moral code of book-buying

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bookbuyingI have never met a student at Fairfield who genuinely likes the University bookstore, and for good reason.

The University bookstore’s books are excessively overpriced when compared to almost any other book source, especially online retailers like the Amazon.com marketplace and Half.com.

Even worse, the bookstore is notorious for its unreasonable policies when it comes to the buyback session at the end of the semester.’

Yes, the bookstore does pay in cash, but it will not buy old editions or books that teachers are not using the next semester. Even when members of the staff do take your book, the money that you receive for it is ridiculously reduced compared to what the store will charge for the same book when it sells it to your fellow student the next semester.

Regardless of all of this, the real issue at hand, and the issue that can be solved, is the faculty’s thoughtless attitude toward the book-buying process.

When communication between the bookstore and the faculty fails, students and their wallets invariably suffer.

I have experienced and heard many horror stories from fellow students about problems with the booklist that professors send to the University bookstore, because when you try to buy a book online, you run the risk that it will be the wrong book and you will not be able to sell it back.

I have used Amazon to buy books that professors listed on the bookstore Web site only to find that my professor changed his or her mind and took the book off the list, costing me $45.’

I bought a book called ‘News Reporting and Writing’ that was actually supposed to be listed as ‘News Writing and Reporting.’ A total loss of $50.’

I bought books that my professor never referenced once, and books that included a CD-ROM for an extra $20 that I never even put in my computer.’

Professors, maybe you do not realize that what you are doing is hurting your students. However, in these economic times, it is imperative that you take a look at the following guidelines and do what you can to make the weight on our bank accounts a little bit lighter.

1. Be Accurate
Write down exactly the books that you need. Specify the edition; if you do not need the most recent one, say so, because the newest edition is always much more expensive than the second-newest. If you do not need the DVD included, specify that also.

2. Be Fair
Do not include books that you do not actually need. Utilize the indications of ‘necessary’ versus ‘suggested.” If you are putting some of your books up on the electronic reserve, tell your students that there is another, free source for their textbooks.

3. Be Considerate
In selecting your books, keep in mind price as well as quality. Also, do not ask us to buy more than five or six, unless they are inexpensive novels for a literature class or something similar. We have at least four other classes to buy for as well.

4. Think Ahead
Choose textbooks that you think will be used again in future courses. Please do not switch them every semester, because if you do not put in your request for the same book for the following semester, students cannot even try to sell them back at the University bookstore.

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