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 ebay.com, half.com, amazon.com 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.

36 Comments:

  • At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Michael Froomkin said…

    Actually, my advice would be

    DO NOT SELL YOUR BOOKS. YOU WILL WANT THEM AGAIN SOMEDAY. LIKE NEXT YEAR. AND FOR THE BAR EXAM. AND EVEN WHEN YOU ARE IN PRACTICE.

    Really: you think Tort, Contract, CivPro and Con Law don't come up often in second and third year courses?

     
  • At 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    bricklayer, i am an incoming first year and enjoy your blog. question: since we know what classes we are going to take (i am assuming those that professor froomkin mentioned), would it make sense to go out and shop for the cheapest books now?

     
  • At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Anon, that's not possible. There are many choices profs can use for their classes. You can't just go buy a Torts book. There are a handful of Torts books out there and you don't know which one the prof will use. Even basing it on the previous year's choice is risky as some profs switch books from time to time

     
  • At 11:11 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said…

    Prof. Froomkin is half right, its probably a good idea to hold on to any commercial outlines or nutshell books. The casebooks are wasteful, as they may become outdated and far superior resources exit electronically for fee or free.

    The second anon is correct, you'll need to know the author and EDITION. Do you know what section you are in? You can wait for one of your collegues to go to book horizons first, or just go ahead and ask the professors' secretaries.

    Also, anon2 maybe makes too big a deal about casebook editions, usually the changes aren't drastic and sometimes don't even involve sections that you cover. In otherwords, if someone is going to give you a free copy of a casebook 1 edition behind, my advice to you is to take it. You can always go look up any missing cases on the internet.

    I know most 1L's wouldnt consider it, I know I wouldn't have, but it really wouldn't mean the end of your law career to wait until the first day of class.

     
  • At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    anon number one here. thanks for the information. i don't have the money for books at the moment anyway, but it is nice to know there is nothing i can do but wait. i believe that we receive our schedules during orientation.

     
  • At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why would you need your books to look up old cases? Cases are available on Lexis or Westlaw.

     
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    Chad again.

     
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