This is a little more on the student darwinism side of things than the current discussion, but my last English course next to no one bought the major book because we honestly didn't think we had to.
To explain, this course didn't have textbooks, just novels and plays that were easily obtainable. Most of us already owned at least one of them and there was no specific version we needed. So we're looking at this list of five books and it's four well known books/plays that everyone can get anywhere and one more obscure novel.
Most of us agreed that we were going to take this chance to save a few hundred dollars and just buy the things on amazon if we needed to.
Well it turns out nobody could find the fifth book. Nobody. The author's site didn't even show us where we could purchase his work. Amazon didn't have it, Barnes and Nobles didn't have it, independent stores didn't have it, the teacher couldn't tell us where to find it. The school store had had it, but had sold the excess by the time we realized we couldn't find it.
Between failing that course (the final project made up 50% of your grade and HAD to be on that fifth book), the other teacher that semester who tried to double our workload because he had too much free time (the reason he gave us, I swear), and some mental health problems I ended up dropping out out of pure frustration and exhaustion.
Oh now that I hate with a passion. There's one teacher who assigns her kids The Sword in the Stone
by T.H. White every year. The Sword in the Stone
is the first part of the Once and Future King
. The book had parts that were released separately in the 30s. They have not been separate for a long time and it can get ridiculously hard to find used copies of just The Sword in the Stone
. Every year we have to comfort the kids/parents by explaining that yes, it's the same thing to use Once and Future King
. No the teacher's just being lazy and won't update her syllabus. I'm sure there a few students each year who don't figure it out and commit unintentional SD.