Being a college student can be tough. Living on a low income while accumulating mountains of debt is a raw deal in itself, but the proverbial kick in the balls comes in the form of the college textbook. These books come in all shapes and sizes, but they all share two common characteristics: they’ll drain the everliving fuck out of your wallet and leave you feeling like a humongous chach.
This is my story:
I only needed one book this past semester, so I went to the bookstore to get it. The retail price to purchase this USED book was $57.99. Expensive as hell for a used book, but what am I supposed to do? Not buy it and fail out?
I bought the book and used it sparingly throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, it is common for the bookstore to give students the option to sell textbooks back to them. I went ahead and took advantage of this opportunity, hoping to regain some of my money.
How much money do you think I got back for returning a $57.99 USED book in the same USED condition that I bought it? Conservatively, I expected somewhere between $15 and $20. Less than fifty percent of the retail price is still giving them plenty of room to make a profit again.
Did I get that much back? NOPE.
The cashier graciously offered me ONE DOLLAR.
Seriously? What an overt screwjob. There is no way in hell that my USED book depreciated $56.99 in the span of a few months. I wouldn’t even be that pissed if I believed they would sell it to another student at a lesser price on the next go-around. But we all know what the price tag will say on that exact book when I walk in next semester to get fucked over again: $57.99.
Colleges force students to need books, a need that the colleges then routinely exploit in multiple ways. It’s a systemic problem, and no one is doing anything about it. Online book markets like Amazon have helped combat this book return undervaluation crisis, but not nearly as much as is needed. College kids are inherently lazy, and taking a book back to the local store as opposed to going through the process of boxing and shipping is much more attractive. I shouldn’t have to go through a drawn-out process to get a fair deal. Give me a break.
The problem is how cyclical it is. Books have a long shelf life (literally). These places can turn the same book over three or four times, charging the same price without having to incur costs of more than a dollar. That’s outrageous. How are we not protesting in the streets about this? Corporate greed is rampant in our local bookstores and nobody is doing anything about it. I challenge America’s youth to get behind a cause that really matters and put an end to these damn rackets..
Image via YouTube