The system is really built against you. Professors inform students of which textbooks are required for the class upon the first day of the semester. The bookstore always has the books for sale, of course, but at premium. They trap you because you only have about a week to return textbooks. What if I emailed the professors of hte classes I am due to begin in spring 09, asking them which textbooks will be required for the class? This would allow me to have a few extra days to shop around for the lowest price, and avoid waiting in the bookstore line.
Now this makes sense on a financial level, but is it considered appropriate or in any way awkward?