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Hey, here’s a fun fact you may not have known:
Ever wonder why more professors don’t just tell you you don’t really need the textbook for the class? Or places you can get it for free/cheap?
It’s because if they’re using any of the textbook materials in their lectures (figures, graphs, etc) they can get in legal trouble for not ‘requiring’ that students buy the textbook.
tl;dr: assume ur prof is being held hostage by big textbook and ask former students rather than the prof whether you need it and where you can get it. ur prof is probably secretly on ur side anyway.
also please ask your professors if the book is on reserve in the library. it’s rare but even if it’s just a couple classes over the years you can still save hundreds of dollars
most professors are definitely on your side. on top of some having a copy in the library, I have legit had professors require older editions of textbooks because all the information was basically the same and it was cheaper to buy secondhand or find the pdf online.
As a professor, (who also struggled purchasing books in college) …
Many of us are on your side. Many of us want to help you out. Many of us try to get around requiring you to purchase an expensive text, but sometimes you need the text. So talk to us! Ask us if there is another way. We will try to make it work. I might be teaching a class of 50 and I can’t just give everyone a textbook. But, if you come to me and say you’re on financial aid and can’t pay for the book, I might be able to get you money for the book from a book fund or the department. I might have an extra copy I’m willing to let you borrow. If you let me know the book in the library is never available, I can probably put a second or third book on reserve. (Sometimes I might even accidentally lead you to a website that happens to host the pdf of the book.) I can’t get 50 text books, but if you come to me personally, I can offer as much help as I can. And I really do want to help you.