By Tahnayee Clendinen, A&E Writer
Almost every college student has at some point or another, walked into the campus bookstore and reluctantly handed over an outrageous amount of cash for only a few textbooks. A select few students however, have taken measures to reduce the burden on their wallets.
One way that students are obtaining textbooks is by illegally downloading them through peer-to-peer sharing software and sites such as Limewire, Pirate Bay Torrents and Kick Ass torrents. These textbooks, though free, are illegally obtained
A few students were willing to share their experiences downloading textbooks. Their names have been changed to protect their privacy.
“Textbooks have ridiculous b – – – – in’ prices” John Doe said. “I’m not gonna be paying more than a $100 for books that are just for Gen-Reqs.”
Doe said he might still illegally download textbooks for classes specifically for his major depending on the cost of the books.
“I have s – – t to do” Doe said. “If a book is less than $150, I consider buying it for my major, but the key word there is ‘consider.’ Jesus, don’t professors know we are broke?”
While most textbooks come in at hefty prices, a study done by the University of California at Berkeley found that economics and science majors spend the most money on textbooks, and it is starting to take a toll.
“I have a job and still can’t afford textbooks” Jane Anderson said. “If I have to choose between paying my bills or buying a book, I’d rather have a place to stay.”
Students are often faced with trying to make difficult decisions when it comes to budgeting money, and they usually opt for the cheapest option if they don’t see an immediate negative consequence ahead.
“Look, it’s not like they don’t have a million people buying their s–t. They don’t need my money,” Anderson said. “I’ve been doing it for three semesters, and I haven’t gotten caught, so it’s whatever.”
Students expressed mixed feelings about the prospect of their peers illegally downloading textbooks.
“I think that it’s hard, because they [booksellers] are asking so much for textbooks, and for a lot of people the prices are impractical,” senior Allison Merklinghaus said. “I can see the rationale of why people do it, but since it’s illegal, it’s not right.”
Sophomore James Denis said companies need to more aware of college students’ expenses.
“I think it kinda depends on whose fault it is,” Denis said. “I mean prices are ridiculous, but companies should be aware that we are already paying for college.”
Sophomore Kelly Hall also placed the blame on textbook companies.
“It is the companies fault for making textbooks outrageously expensive,” sophomore Kelly Hall said. “I think if the companies could make the prices lower then students wouldn’t see the need to do it.”
Sometimes finding textbooks online and getting a PDF of one on your desktop can be as easy as logging onto Facebook and following a free download link, or getting onto a torrenting site and searching the book’s name.
When it comes to deciding on how to get what they need for their education, students have plenty of cheap legal options. For example, some students rent textbooks from the campus store, or online sites like Chegg and E-campus. Others buy e-book versions.
Both of these options can save buyers up to 80 percent of the textbook’s original cost according to http://www.digitalmedia.com. For some, however, it simply isn’t enough.
“Unless this school or books gets cheaper,” Doe said, “or money starts falling out of the sky, I’m gonna keep downloading my books.”
Anderson agreed with Doe.
“Like I said before, I have to pay my rent,” Anderson said. “Why would I rent or buy a used book when I can have it for free? Yeah sorry, not sorry.” ◼︎