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Why I Swore Off Buying Assigned Books for My Classes

My fall semester of freshman year was pretty easy regarding textbook use. Meaning I could probably leaf through one book during the first week, before realizing that I could scrape by without using any textbooks for any of my classes. The books ended up lying on my desk doing absolutely nothing except collecting dust.

So picture this: Fall exam season in full swing, immense stress was coating the cold(ish) Charleston air, and I was lugging my rented and purchased books back to the bookstore, in attempts to get rid of them. Once I return the rental books, I head over to a small stand in the back of the bookstore that you could resell books back to.

Now is probably the time I should mention this: I spent $643.85 on books for the fall semester. Okay– I know you’re probably thinking something along the lines of “how stupid can someone be to spend that much on books alone?”. But hear me out, I’m a freshman, and I was completely unaware of all the options that are available to purchase books for much, much cheaper.

Anyway, back to the stand. I hand the woman sitting there around 7 books, and she had begun to scan them to tell me what they were worth. You could not imagine the shock on my face as she counted off the numbers like “$7.60, $9.00, $.33,” and to my genuine horror, “this book is worthless.” Now, at that point, I was beyond angry, entirely over the fact that I felt scammed by the bookstore. Finally, when she handed me my grand total of $26.25, I left the store and immediately called my mom to complain for around an hour about how much money I lost in the transaction.

By then I had sworn off ever buying textbooks again.

However, I had come to a quick realization that as an English major, I am going to actually have to purchase books for some classes. Yet, this time I refused to buy my books from the book store, so I searched online for my books and only bought the ones I thought would be necessary.

So, no one needs to swear off textbooks. Just be smart about where you find them, and how much you pay for them.

Mallory Berry is an English major at the College of Charleston with a concentration in writing, rhetoric, and publication. When not at random coffee shops doing homework, she can be found either binge-watching shows on Netflix or exploring Charleston.
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