Thursday, January 05, 2006

the textbook scam

I am trying to decide whether to sell back my books. Obviously I could use the money. But somehow last year when they offered me $60 for the $600 worth of books it felt insulting. And I know I could get more, especially since the textbook industry is a cabal that perpetrates one of the biggest ripoffs known to mankind. I know I can sell my E&Es and High Courts on Amazon because that’s where I bought most of mine. And they weren’t cheap.

This is probably stupid but I’m saving all those study aids in case I need them for studying for the bar. I guess most people use only the BarBri stuff because they don’t have time to look at anything else. But I figure since I have it, I might as well save this stuff just in case. Even if another edition of those things come out, I can easily sell those for a good chunk in a year and a half (assuming I pass the bar). I know it’s not as easy – in fact, it’s probably impossible – to sell casebooks when new editions come out.

Then I think about the lawyers’ offices I’ve been to where the lawyer prominently displays his law school books on a shelf. I’ve seen that a lot. I was surprised to see it each time. If I didn’t go to law school I would probably be impressed by the colorful, scholarly-looking collection of casebooks with titles like “Law and Property” and “Evidence Under the Rules.” But I think that’s the only reason lawyers keep their law school books – for show. The Professor posted once on Bricklayer’s blog that law students should keep their books for later years and also for using when they start practicing.

I wonder about this. Sure, it makes sense, on some level, to say that lawyers often refer back to resources where they can look up basic points of law because no one really remembers much about first-year subjects. But that’s not what law school casebooks are all about. They are compilations of cases with a series of questions interspersed between the cases. (They are not textbooks like we had in college and in school. Very little is explained or analyzed in a casebook.) And any practicing lawyer who relies on an old casebook to grasp a basic concept of law would be missing a huge step because he’d have to Shepardize or Keycite the case (to make sure it wasn’t overturned). Same goes for the upper level student who refers back to an old casebook -- how helpful would it really be? So even if you don’t have Lexis or Westlaw at work for some reason you can’t just rely on a casebook.

I don’t know. I could sure use the money, even if it’s only 10 percent of what I paid…


At 7:32 PM, Blogger LawFool said...

No way dude, when we open up Guy & Fool we won't be able to pay Lexis--so, we'll need to use our old books. It will cost way more than 60 bucks to buy them back.

At 7:47 PM, Blogger Zuska said...

i have such a hard time selling my books. i have yet to do it. i lvoe my books. my notes in the margins, my underlines, my highlights. those are very valuable to me.

just like i don't want the same of others clogging up my reading experience, i don't want to rid myself of my own doodles and thoughts.

Except one. I'm more than willing to sell back Family Law. I hated that class.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said...

Sell them back on for much higher prices than crook horizons. If you want books on your shelves later, you can always buy used ones or actually useful hornbooks.


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