Pioneer Advice Column #1

Anonymous Zigzagoon Asks: How do I get free textbooks from upperclassmen that I’ve never spoken to? Please Help! I’m broke!


Hey there Anonymous Zigzagoon!

Sorry to hear that you’re having trouble with getting textbooks, but luckily for you this is one of the most common problems students deal with at Cooper and there are many options for you to try! The simplest one is to consider whether or not you really need a hard copy of this textbook. There are plenty of pdfs around of pretty much every textbook you could possibly need at cooper, all majors, all years, especially in engineering! To get one of these pdfs you can just buy it like every other college student in the country, ha chumps, OR you can just get access to one of the many dropboxes or drives that get passed down through generations of Cooper students. If you get access, do be careful, there is ancient wisdom stored there and tampering with it may jeopardize your success and the success of all the future cooper engineering students to come. Also, this is kind of a common courtesy thing, if you have a resource that could help out, don’t be afraid to add to the treasure trove. Someone put in the effort to compile all that, so pay it forward too! There’s a pretty good chance that the book you’re looking for is at the bi-annual ESC Book Fair! Over the course of a week once every semester, there are hundreds of reasonably priced used books on sale, and the odds of what you need being  there for a fraction of its real value are pretty good (don’t quote me on the odds, I did not do well in probability). Normally I’d say check back every day or every few hours if you want catch the book you need, but seeing as we’re temporarily confined to the enforced comfort and safety (I hope) of our homes this isn’t really an option right now. 

Now we get to what you actually asked for! You made it through the filler arc and now we get to the canon. If you absolutely need to get a book from an unknown upperclassman, start with checking if any of your classmates know them. Cooper is pretty small so if they are also in your major, they probably know someone in your class or at least someone in your year you might know. This is basically how networking happens in the real world, but I’m sure Jolie from the career center would have something to say about that comparison. If by some chance you don’t have anyone in common with this person, just take the chance, bite the bullet, and shoot them an email or a message. The worst thing that’ll happen is they say that they already sold it or they just miss your message. Of course they could also need the book for something else like a grad class or just for the memories, but that doesn’t happen too often. I’m discounting the possibilities of someone leaving you on read or not wanting to sell you the book for no particular reason because those actions are despicable,and I hope they don’t happen at Cooper. That would absolutely not be very cash money of them to do, and I hope they stub their toe really hard on one of the desks in the NAB whenever we get to come back. Other options include: posting about it on one of the many Cooper Facebook groups or specifically Cooper’s List, scavenging around one of the various study lounges or labs at cooper to get a suitable old copy that belongs to nobody, and getting the book from the library. I hope this helps Anonymous Zigzagoon.


That one HSS book at the book fair that nobody ever wants to buy. How long will my owner-less existence of suffering continue? Only Anne Griffin may know.

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