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Publishers won't let their top stuff all go electronic. Amazon and other are great sources for used books, but schools enjoy scalping students by buying books back used and shelling them out at top dollar and sometimes students pay it because they have no choice. Smart students get around this by reselling to each other. U of W system is saying textbooks are free there, to attract students, but for my kid that went there, there were still costs. It's good to look at this, but schools need to be honest.
The problem is not the Chemistry book used for a class, it might be expensive, but is heavily used during the class, and latter as a reference. The real problem is in English or similar classes where the prof will have a half a dozen books needed for the class, but only 1 chapter is used out of the whole book.
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