So my brother had this to say in his AIM away message,
Just got all my books for this semester for $102.... take that, all you suckers with "real majors" and "futures"...
To which I must impart my great wisdom at beating the college book swindle. The keys are to find out what books you really need, ahead of time, like right after you lock in your schedule, or even before that if you are sure of what professor you are getting, and what course it is. And I mean which books you REALLY need. The ones the actual test and homeworks will be out of, not some supplementary text, which are great, but when working part time to eat and live, plus all the other time constraints of a *real* major.
Anyway once you have this list, you can shop around and find out which ones are probably worth buying and what ones you can get cheap. Then there are some that are nice to have, but really you just want for the semester. Selling it back to the book store of course is for suckers that don't like the beer and other fuels that money can buy them. You first bet is go to the local Jackington school where your school probably has a relationship that you can at least get in their library if not take books out. If it is close enough proximity to your school or where you are living, then you are golden. You can see what books they have that are on your list of really expensive critical books. Head over there and hide them. Be subtle yet elegant in your hiding. It is critical that you be able to find them and not tip anyone off that you are up to anything. Then any time you head back there you can grab them, do any studying, etc. (plus being in this foreign library where you are not likely to run into drinking buddies will help you focus) And get out of there. Myself attending Drexel provided me with one of the most jackington schools, UPenn, and their Engineering library was quite extensive.
Your second and probably the most popular option is Inter-Library Loan. Basically you submit a request in your library and they borrow the book from some other library and lend it to you. Usually you should be able to request renewal a couple of times and have the book for the whole semester. Or in my case the $1.25 it cost to extend the book once and then return it late for the second deadline (I couldn't extend again) was well worth it. No need for permanent ownership of a $120 300 page text book on image processing, and compression algorithms.
And you can always find some other well meaning people trying to save money and chip in on a book. Of course the trouble here is when test time is coming up, who gets it, and then when the semester is over, who gets to keep it. You are probably better off becoming buddy/buddy with someone that always buys the books and studying/doing homework with them and maybe borrowing it on the weekends.
Also keep in mind many people get the same books for different classes, where that book is not really one of their critical books. Keep an eye out for that. It helps to have friends at other nearby schools for that one. And You can always try and borrow books from the recently graduated.
Anyway so taking fake majors isn't the only way to save money on textbooks. And, Tom, have fun studying even more Hemingway. BTW, Jackington is a reference to a simpsons episode comment, basically its how us city urchins refer to those with a more financially privileged upbringing. I also picked up this slang from Tom. It seems Manayunk plays host to quite a bit of jackington clientelle on the weekends.