…because (like, I suspect, Glenn Reynolds) I consider this to be the perfect intersection between the normally competing impulses of desire for public service, and sheer greed: Kindle Textbooks. Buy ’em for the Kindle, or rent ’em; the former has its points as a later reference, but the latter is often a lot cheaper. And you don’t actually need a Kindle; there are, as they say, apps for that.
Incidentally, if you don’t have kids about to go to college then you should go look up textbook prices on Amazon generally: it’ll give you an idea of just how bad things have gotten when it comes to niche printing. When you go through the medical section in particular… damn. For that kind of money, I could hire a scribe to copy out and illuminate some of those books – the prices are comparable, and the end result would be prettier, too.