Bricks on the Brain

UM Law

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Book Horizons...friend or foe?

At the time of this posting, there are about 6 weeks until classes begin. None of the professors have posted the required texts for their classes. Most won't do so until a few days before classes begin. Some won't post required texts at all, and will simply assume that Book Horizons will serve students' needs.

Book Horizons is a book store on Ponce. They have a great selection of new and used law text books, as well as large selection of study aids. You can walk in with your class schedule and tell them you want new or used books. In response they'll hand you a pile of books, ask you for a few hundred bucks, and you'll be on your merry way. For 1L's it removes 100% of the stress of getting ready for law school's first day.

The only problem is that Book Horizons sits on prime Gables real estate, and I suppose they've got to pay the rent somehow. Although their new book prices are fair, their used book prices are seemingly 2 to 3 times on-line prices from,, or other purveyors of used books. For law students forking over $100K+ for their legal education, every dollar saved is a dollar earned. Collectively, the UM law student body probably spends tens of thousands of dollars more than if there were more time to order books online.

Savvy 2 and 3L's will simply wait for the first day of class to figure out what books are really needed. They'll order on-line used books and wait the week or two for delivery. If that means cases don't get read until then, c'est la vie. Of course many 3Ls won't even buy the books, opting instead for the High Court briefs. But pretty much all 1L's and the A-type 2 and 3Ls will head over to Book Horizons and pay the piper.

Clearly, requiring profs to post their required texts well before classes begin would save the law student body thousands of dollars by giving students time to buy texts on-line. Will it ever happen? I doubt it.

By the way, if you are a 1L and reading this: DO NOT BY NEW BOOKS. DO NOT BY NEW BOOKS. SELL YOUR BOOKS ON-LINE, YOU WILL MAKE MUCH MORE $$$ THAN SELLING THEM BACK TO BOOK HORIZONS. If you take care of the used books you buy, you might even be able to break even on them when you resell them on-line.