Yes, you do have to buy textbooks for college courses. The school doesn't hand them out.
The usual college pattern (which is very different from high school) is that you read the assignment before you get to class, and the teacher assumes you have that information inside your head by the time you arrive. In high school, the teacher told you what the book would say, then you were supposed to go home and read it, and finally, the teacher would tell you (again) what the book said. In college, none of that happens—often the lecture is material in addition to what was in the textbook. In our course, the written assignments usually are some sort of response to the reading you have been assigned.
You need to buy the books.
The campus bookstoreI have told the campus bookstore what to order and how many of them, so the books should be waiting for you when you arrive. You don't need to go scampering around to online stores if you don't want to.
Once you get to the campus bookstore, you will find the books arranged according to course name and number. In courses like English 100 which have more than one instructor teaching more than one section, the sections will almost certainly have different books. If you buy the books for English 100-G or 100-F, you will have the wrong ones.
Finding a bargainOnline stores such as Amazon do carry our books, but don't wait until the last minute. The course is only fifteen weeks, and you don't want a delay in delivery to hold up your books until the third week of class. You also need to exercise more care buying online than at the campus store.
Edition number is very important for college textbooks. If you go online and pick up an obsolete 12th edition of America Now (instead of the 13th edition which we will use), you can get it for ten bucks, BUT the page numbers won't match my assignments AND about a quarter of the readings won't be in your book.
What to get
- America Now, 13th edition.
- A Writer's Reference, 9th edition
- They list something called "Launchpad" on this website, but we're not using that.
Notes for the futureI wrote the curriculum which many teachers will use for the Spring semester of 101, and it uses the same books (though we will be using different readings), so you can keep your books for the next semester (probably).
A Writer's Reference is scheduled to go to a new edition in mid-September (Odd! Why not before school starts?), so your 9th edition will not get a good price as a used book (if the bookstore will buy it back at all). But be of good cheer. Grammar handbooks like this don't change much with new editions, and the publisher has told us that the section numbers will match the older edition, so you can use your 9th edition in the Spring.