School: Books and such
It's back to school time for me, and that means spending a load of cash on those boondoggles known as law school textbooks. It's probably more convenient than logging on to Westlaw and printing out the hundreds of cases you read in a semester, but it's still expensive. As far as I know, there are three main ways of buying textbooks:
1) Get 'em from a local bookstore - The most expensive but most convenient option. Perfect when you need a book immediately to start reading. You can also often pick and choose from their used books to avoid the ones that are all marked up in an annoying fashion.
2) Get 'em from an online bookseller - Another convenient method. Book searching sites like Campusi.com make it easy to find books by ISBN. Although the prices tend to be considerably lower than a local store, you pay for shipping, and your book may not come for a week (or more...).
3) Get 'em from another student - Ah, the wildcard. Some schools have book exchange programs, but most of the time, you'll be relegated to Craigslist or the like. This almost always gets you rock-bottom prices (you'll never pay less than a local store's buyback value of the book, though), but you have to deal with another student - could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how diligent they are about getting your book to you.