Copying ISBNs Is Not a Crime

Three Harvard undergraduates were told to leave the Harvard Coop bookstore because they were copying International Standard Book Numbers from books on the shelf. The store called the Cambridge police; the officers who responded allowed the students to continue copying, and the students left of their own accord two and a half hours later.

Cops having better sense than bookstore employees. What’s the world coming to?

Revere has the details and also points to CrimsonReading.org, which looks pretty neat. Not only does it automate comparison shopping for textbooks, but it also lets you see what books Harvard requires for its courses. To be honest, I looked at their physics listings just so I could point and laugh at their effete inadequacy, but their selections actually look pretty reasonable. “Quantum Mechanics II” can’t get very far if the only book they require is Griffiths; I was expecting that an upstanding school like Harvard would at least force its students to buy Shankar, Sakurai and Cohen-Tannoudji as well. Sean Carroll will no doubt be pleased they use his book for their general relativity class.

One thought on “Copying ISBNs Is Not a Crime”

  1. What exactly made the employees think the cops would give a damn? And, more importantly to me, was it some random lackey or was it the store manager?

    If the latter, I’d be entirely unsurprised. Disappointed, but unsurprised. If the former, then I would be intensely annoyed at the snitches trying to rat out their peers for the benefit of the corporate overlords. Don’t these damned commie pinko liberal universities preach the gospel of glorious class struggle any more? What’s the world coming to?

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